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APW Happy Hour


Oh dear God, please make it the weekend

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

APW Happy Hour | A Practical Wedding

HI APW!

So, as you gathered from yesterday’s post about the deep dark secrets of the Red Carpet, I was down in LA this week (my favorite photos from that trip live on Instagram).

I did one of those work/family combo trips that always seems like such a good idea in advance, and then during the trip you’re like, “Was I high when I planned this? Was that the issue?” In short, I had one of those trips where something starts going wrong, and then it just sort of spirals into this loop of small disasters. YOU KNOW THE KIND. It started with me basically throwing my cell phone in the toilet while trying to sooth a clingy baby, and then involved a night with four hours sleep after said kid apparently mainlined exorbitant amounts of caffeine when no one was looking. But. I ended the trip staying in a hotel room larger than a Manhattan apartment (I was actually sort of spooked being in it alone, it was so huge). I finally made it to the red carpet viewing. And after something like ten hours and five different trips, my cell phone is on it’s way to full data recovery. Hole in the wall cell phone repair shops in Oakland that only take cash, FTW. But weirdly, in all that madness, we missed the earthquake up here, and I sort of felt bad about it. It seemed like the California natives should have been there for the earthquake, and some people less versed in quakes should have missed it? WHAT A WEEK.

So, on that note, we’re starting Happy Hour early today. What? Is 9:30 a.m. PDT to early to start drinking on a Friday? Well, it’s not too early to start chatting. Here is to a nice, long, relaxing weekend. In my case, in my very own bed.

Cheers,
meg

Highlights of APW This Week

“Be Elisabeth, but be brave.”

Joy, personified in a South Carolina wedding.

That’s your first dance song? Uh, well… okay.

Relearning to fly solo.

A one-on-one interview with City Love Photography in New York City.

Adventurous married sex: it totally exists. But it does also sometimes take work.

How to keep your engagement happiness bubble in tact.

How to plan a Bay Area wedding for under $10K.

David’s Bridal is totally killing it right now.

“Worry is sort of the cost of caring about someone.”

Five things you didn’t know about the red carpet.

Link Roundup

What one man learned from two years of gathering data on police killings.

The awkward art of the male plus one.

“As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all. Becoming friends with Lena—without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for—has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.”

The military gives a woman’s family a pay cut, after her husband cheats on her.

“Who Exactly Is “The Carefree Black Girl“?

Carefree Black Girl: the life and death of Karyn Washington.”

A mother creates inspired, fantastic images of her daughter.

Twelve cats model fall jewelry.

If geek girls acted like geek guys.

“We’re going to enjoy this cocaine-fueled mason jar rocket ride for as long as it lasts.”

Using Science to Blame Mothers.”

“More than Sixty Years Later, a Love Note from a Familiar Stranger.”

Should you catcall her?

In one perfect sentence, Amy Poehler schools a guy on what it’s like to be a woman.

APW’S 2014 HAPPY HOURS ARE SPONSORED BY MONOGAMY WINE AND PROMISQOUS WINE. Thank you Monogamy and PromisQous for helping make the APW mission possible! To follow PromisQous Wines on their foodie adventures, click here to follow them on Instagram.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • notquitecece

    We FINALLY picked a venue! Yaaaaaay! It’s going to be a teensy bit close, size-wise, but the food and the cocktails will be fabulous. We’re (hopefully) giving them moneys to lock it down today. Kid-friendly wedding question: what’s the age at which you should make sure you have a seat/dinner? We have a few little-little kiddos (like, under 18 mos); should we be counting them as “babies” or “dinner-guests”? (This is such a silly question!)

    • H

      I think it depends, dinner is probably something to ask the parents about, but even if your youngest guests are technically babies, parents would probably really appreciate an extra chair for the carrier/diaper bag/etc. That stuff is bulky and it’s tough enough being a parent of a young child at a wedding without balancing your child and supplies on your lap all night.

      • notquitecece

        Agreed — we definitely don’t want them to feel cramped/balancey!!

    • SarahG

      Not a silly question — I didn’t know either! I ended up asking the parents. I just said “I don’t know anything about child development, so I’m asking everyone with kids — does your kid need a chair, booster seat, or what and do they need their own meal or not? With obvious exceptions for older kids who clearly do need a normal chair and real dinner.

      • notquitecece

        This is clearly a good plan — we’ll do this as soon as we start sending stuff out/getting answers!

    • emmers

      I’ve been wondering this about ceremony seating. We have limited seating for the ceremony (we have plenty of room at the reception). The general rule I’ve been using is if they’re 1 year or under, I assume that they’ll be held, but if they’re older, I assume they’ll need their own seat. We’ll see how it goes, if it ends up being tight!

      • notquitecece

        Ha, I think we have the opposite problem — the constraint (as I understand it) is more about what the kitchen can handle than about chairs, strictly speaking. We should probably ask both the venue coordinator and the parents in question. Besides, some of them are probably going to get a nanny for at least the reception (it’s close enough that they can run them home during cocktail hour).

    • Lawyerette510

      also check with your venue, they might be able to do kid-specific meals for cheaper. We had a family-style meal but for the kids they had cheesy pasta that was brought out first to make it easier on the parents, plus it helped with cost as they were priced much much much lower than the adults who had a 4 course family style meal (and the kids still got to try fun “fancy” food if they wanted, given it was family-style services).

    • Sarah McClelland

      Ask the parents if they’re eating adult food or different fare. I think it really varies from family to family and kid to kid when and what the kids start eating- and if high chairs and/or booster seats are available that might make a difference too!!

  • notquitecece

    Also, THANK YOU for this week’s posts. They were so, so great, and have helped me figure out some big stuff.

    • Meg Keene

      Aw. Your welcome. We have been working so hard of late (August means vacation means understaffed on a rotating basis) and we will take whatever thank yous we can get.

      • anonforasec

        …and by “figure out some big stuff” I mean “have the best sex we’ve had in a while.” :-D

  • Pileofstix

    After a terrible inital college experience (who knew that a hippie-dippie-problem-with-authority-not-great-at-math-type would fare so poorly at an engineering oriented service academy?!) I have finally started school again, thanks in large part to the encouragement (okay, forceful pushing!) of my amazing boyfriend. Feels good man.
    :-)

    • Erin

      Awesome. Best of luck for this next go ’round.

  • emmers

    Hey ya’ll! I have a friend I’m thinking of asking to be my day of coordinator. For those of you who have had friends do this in the past, what kinds of things did you have them help with? Were there any APW posts that you shared with them, so they would have a good idea of what they’re getting into? Or what did you tell them that their responsibilities would be?
    I’m planning on paying her a nominal amount (probably $150), and I have some stuff I know I’d like her help with (like telling the bridesmaids when to walk, and probably packing up our cards), but I’m drawing a blank on lots of specifics!

    • SarahG

      Friends of ours are our DOCs and we were theirs in June, so none of us paid anybody anything (and I’m not sure if you need to, but that’s just me… if ours hadn’t been a trade I would have just said it was their wedding gift to us). That said, DOCing for our friends, whom we love dearly, was… NUTS. They self-catered and didn’t have enough servers, so guess who ended up running around like a demented chicken trying to get hot mussels to all the tables before they cooled down (because lukewarm mussels = gross)? This girl. Anyway, don’t do that :) But here are some other things we did: help them design a realistic timeline; coordinate setup and breakdown; help them and their helpers stick to the timeline on the day of (this was really important for food but also when to do toasts, when to set up dessert, when to move the music ahead to more dancey stuff, etc). We also did troubleshooting like set up sun covers when the sun got crazy; dealt with an upset mother of the bride; made sure to keep people signing the guest book; stuff like that. Here’s what we expect them to do: timeline and management thereof is the big one; coordinate setting up at venue in morning (guestbook, cake table, table displays; rest is done by restaurant); keep toasts in order; coordinate our sendoff; coordinate cleanup. Does this help at all?

      • emmers

        It does! My expectations sound more like yours. Our event is also at a restaurant type place, and they actually have a coordinator there who will be setting up tables. But she will need to set up the guestbook, etc, like with you guys. I like that– keeping toasts in order & coordinating sendoff. Helpful! Basically, keeping things moving, it sounds like.

        • SarahG

          Yeah, that is really the enormous gift of the friend DOC — they keep things moving while you’re getting all emo and enjoying yourself.

    • Lawyerette510

      I’ve been DOC (or as I like to phrase it “bossy cow” or “bitch with the clipboard”) for 4 friends’ weddings, and one friend did it for us. Our wedding was small and there weren’t very many moving pieces, but the woman who played DOC for us was a huge help with thinking through logistics before hand, reviewing timelines etc, and then being in charge of keeping everyone on-track with the timeline as we moved through the day. She and I worked well together because we are both similarly geared when it comes to organization, documentation etc (we knew this ahead of time as we used to have a law practice together, and before that I was her DOC). We used the APW timeline and talked a lot about what was important to the groom and I (because some things that she would prioritize as very important to us would only be kinda important and vice-versa). So on the day of, she didn’t really have to ask me any questions.

      For when I was the DOC, the times it worked well is when the couple gave me clear instructions and expectations, made sure the vendors knew who I was and what decision making power I had (e.g. that I had the final say on how x looked and was standing in for the couple on that matter). The times it didn’t work as well was when the bride and groom had more of an “it’ll all work out” kind of attitude and didn’t communicate or plan as well. And when I say it didn’t work as well, I mean it wasn’t really a positive experience for me, because it was super stressful and in one case vendors ended up not being paid that day and not doing what they were supposed to at the end of the night because the couple hadn’t given them instructions ahead of time, and when I tried to give them instructions they blew me off. It all worked out and the bride and groom were happy with how it turned out, and that’s really what matters. That said, I felt very taken-for-granted and had a bad taste in my mouth afterwards, but we have since talked about what all went down and our friendship is intact and better than ever.

      • SarahG

        You need to write a piece for APW on your experience!

        • SarahG

          AND this is reminding me that the other great thing the DOCs do is field questions. On the day, everyone has a billion questions — where do I park, is there a coat closet, what time is the pie, etc etc. Doesn’t matter if you told them ahead of time. So, as DOC, you take those questions so that people aren’t asking the couple. This was key at the one we did, because the brides were getting married at home, and so it had even more the feeling of being their space, and therefore they should be hosting and answering questions.

          • l_weston

            On the suggestion of my future mother-in-law, we are having wedding “hosts”. It’s the term she used. Basically, we have one aunt from his family and one from mine who will get corsages different from moms and grandmas and have agreed to field questions from guests, help get people organized for family pictures, and just to direct and guide guests between the ceremony and dinner. Think, “Bathrooms are here”, “Snacks are here”, “Dinner will be served at “X”, “yes cake is after dinner”, etc. We have their names in the program a note saying they are wearing a special corsage to help people locate them easily. I think the nice part about this is that there is someone each family already feels comfortable approaching. Now, we haven’t gotten married yet, but hopefully this works out ok.

      • Jules

        Yeah…friendors can be murky waters.

        I filmed a wedding, and it was the worst wedding experience I’ve ever had. I was glad to do the filming itself, and I have yet to edit and return the video (since I’m not paid, she said take as long as you like!). But it pretty much ruined the experience of being a guest so severely that I don’t care to do it again. I’m [mildly] into still photography, not film, so I also spent time pre-wedding tracking down equipment and trying to learn things. The day would have been slightly easier if it was a hobby of mine, but it mostly just felt like work where my other friends treated me like an actual vendor.

        She had no seating chart, our breaking down/setting up was such that we didn’t get to mingle pre- or post-ceremony, we ended up getting booted from the table of my friends who didn’t bother to save us seats at the reception (that sucked – we’d even driven up to the wedding together and one was staying at our house), we spent a lot of time DURING the wedding bothering with technical stuff rather than eating, and I kind of resented that I have yet to receive actual thanks. I’ll see what happens when I deliver the video because I’m really hoping for a handwritten note. Most of this was by no means related to the bride, who was overall very gracious…but I didn’t like the experience.

        • Lawyerette510

          Oh that sounds really bad, and I just read the part about you having already gotten her a gift. All the times I’ve been volunteer DOC/ Stage manager as APW often refers to it, that was my gift to the couple. Personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable with accepting a $100 gift from someone and then asking them do something for me worth hundreds, if not thousands, of more dollars.

    • T.

      I had a close friend volunteer to be DOC. She’s a great organiser so I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about a thing and I was super organised too (spreadsheet heaven) so it was all pretty straightforward. However the hitch was in managing the line between organised and controlling. In fact the only sour notes of our otherwise perfect day was when she stepped over the line and caused some hurt with close friends and family. I had described to her how I wanted the day to ‘feel’ for our guests and it was really disappointing that this didn’t happen for some of them. I guess my point is, that I probably needed to communicate what not to do as well as what to do and also make sure she really understood how important the ‘feeling’ of the day was! If that makes any sense at all!

    • Jules

      I really liked one of the APW posts on how to treat friendors, being as I was one.

      I think it’s very generous of you to pay her. Be clear about your expectations and make sure you give her enough info to work with, but to treat her as a friend who would probably also like to enjoy your wedding.

      Sidenote: I actually ended up buying a $100 wedding gift for someone a few months before the wedding. Four weeks out, she asked me to film it. I’m glad to give of my time, but I was sad that my “gift” couldn’t be the video (the gift by that point wasn’t returnable).

  • H

    So this week has just been fabulous in every way. We recently moved to a new town for my fiancé’s PhD, and not only is the community amazing but after e-mailing a local studio on a whim, I basically landed my dream job! I’ll be teaching art classes right off the downtown while running my home jewelry business. For the first time since I graduated I feel like I’m finally on the right track. I’ve had so many hangups about being the “supplemental income” in our family, and being my own boss in a creative field while also making a decent living is the dream that may finally be happening. And if that wasn’t enough, the wedding dress I just bought went on sale for eighty dollars less, I called and asked if they would refund me what I would have saved, and they did. Boom.

    • Erin

      Holy shit – this is a dream week! Congratulations on ALL OF IT!! Werk it!

      • H

        *grabs virtual hands and squeals while jumping up and down*
        I really have to add, APW community has given me so much confidence to just lean the eff in already, so thank you ladies!

        • Erin

          *grabs virtual hands and squeals right back, whilst jumping*
          Fuck yea! I feel that way about this community too!

    • notquitecece

      YAY that is so fantastic! Congratulations!

    • Natalie

      yay!

  • Erin

    FML – we’re moving this weekend. I can’t believe it’s finally time. Let the force be with me and the 5,000 + other people moving in my city this weekend. Is this why it’s called Labor Day?

    • H

      You will survive! Just remember that however horrible the experience of moving is, by a month out you’re sitting on your couch (that survived the move intact despite the mountain-o-things you piled on it in last minute desperation) watching Netflix, the horrors of the move a swiftly fading memory ;)

      • Erin

        Thank you! If only we could fast forward to couch and Netflix bit. But I’ll keep your words in mind this weekend, as we plough through the craziness.

    • Erin

      I’m in the same boat, fellow Erin. We are moving 1 subway stop away, but between packing up 2 separate apartments, coordinating multiple furniture deliveries and building a shit ton of IKEA shelving units, it feels pretty daunting!

      • Erin

        Thanks, fellow Erin! When we moved in together 2 years ago, I was all “Hurray! I love building furniture!” Two days after Ikea delivered all the parts, the tune had changed significantly. Best of luck! We got this!

  • SarahG

    Erh mah gawd you guys, we got our rings from Bario Neal yesterday and I am STOKED. I love them!

    • SarahG

      I tried to attach the image….I don’t see it!

      • Erin

        Ahhh- gorge-us! So exciting!!!

        • SarahG

          Thanks! :)

      • vegankitchendiaries

        These are RAD.

        • SarahG

          Thank you!

      • emmers

        I love the color of these! And they match!

        • SarahG

          Thanks! It’s just 14K yellow gold. I had thought about trying to be more interesting but neither of us was actually bothered about it, so here we are :) And yeah, they match! Partner felt unusually strongly about that (I didn’t care).

      • Lawyerette510

        love love love them!

    • MC

      YAY! I also got my band from Bario-Neal and even though it’s pretty very simple, I loooooove it and am so happy I got to support their rad business. Congrats!

      • SarahG

        Yay for Bario Neal bands!

    • Leah

      Beautiful! I got my wedding band from Bario Neal as well, and I couldn’t love it more. And I also loved, through our wedding planning process, stumbling upon things that my man felt unexpectedly strongly about – so cute that this was one of your partner’s.

      • SarahG

        I know, right? I mean, I have strong and weird opinions sometimes. He’s just so permanently easygoing, and although we talk about pretty much every decision, his general opinion on wedding stuff is “I think your idea is great, babe.” So it was funny to stumble upon this random one (he also had strong feelings about paper vs evites. And literally nothing else.) Naturally I felt like, well, if that’s one of the two things he cares about, we gotta do it.

        • Leah

          Totally! B was the same way, wanted to be involved but didn’t have too many strong feelings about things. Then when we started talking about desserts, and i suggested maybe pies… he got this look of TOTAL PANIC on his face, and told me that we were going to have a TIERED wedding cake with WHITE frosting, because this was a wedding dammit! – I laughed out loud and put him in charge of all dessert-related decisions. Our cake was beautiful :)

  • vegankitchendiaries

    HAPPY WEEKEND, everyone! Is it a long weekend in America? It is here in Canuckland!!

    So the first thing I did after reading the ‘Self Portrait With a Beehive’ essay (and the ensuing post-wedding dramatic haircut comments) was call a salon and book myself in. APW is ruling my life, I think. Anyway, I cut off ALL of my hair. I went from very very long to VERY VERY VERY short. I’ve never done super short! I feel like Toni Braxton and it’s awesome. Plus, I got to donate to Locks of Love (although Chris Rock says you can’t give away black hair, so who knows…)

    • notquitecece

      woooooo short hair is the bestest. I loved having super-short hair. Enjoy!

    • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

      that’s so exciting!! i daydream about chopping off my hair all the time, but right now it’s just getting back to the long that i like, and i hate the in-between, so….

      • vegankitchendiaries

        CATHERINE! Off topic, but I only saw your wedding the other day! It was posted a few days before we got hitched so I had my fingers off the APW-pulse that week… It was completely jaw-dropping and you honestly looked like a movie star. You guys are the sweetest lil’ couple, it was such a pleasure to delve into that one… :)

        • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

          aww thank you so much!! and congrats to you!! :)

          • vegankitchendiaries

            do people tell you that you look like portia de rossi all of the freakin’ time? they must!

    • Grace from England

      Pictures please!!

    • up_at_Dawn

      After reading the same article I also had the need to make a dramatic change. I went from a long bob to a pixie cut! I love it :)

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Ah ha ha ha! Really? Jeez, aren’t we impressionable. So fun!

        • up_at_Dawn

          Very fun! I love it. I was worried my fiance would hate it- but he loves it too! Plus it’ll really confuse people. “Didn’t you want to grow your hair out for the wedding?” and all that nonsense.

    • River

      Vee!!! Pics, please :-) It is indeed a long weekend, and we are traveling for a wedding – hence this super late reply ;-)

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Hey, I’m too chicken to link to my instagram or whatever (Disqus needs a DM feature.) It’s a bit Bullworth-Halle Berry…

        • River

          They really really do need that!! :-) That sounds gorgeous. I will just have to imagine it till you’re ready to share haha

  • Natalie

    My wedding is 5 weeks away. My FH just landed a great job using his brand new PhD, which will require us to move across the country in 4 months. I may have just lined up my dream job for after I graduate. We decided we’re finally getting a dog after we move. Such excitement! So many life changes at once.

    Also, I’ve been completely ignoring the wedding planning details in favor of working on my dissertation. Right now, the dissertation is way more fun than making hair appointments and ordering flowers and thinking about seating charts.

  • MC

    I LOVED that Guardian article about TSwift – finally got to read it yesterday and it was just SO COOL to read about a mainstream pop star’s feminist awakening as if it is major news (which it totally is in my world)! Plus she just says some smart stuff about her career and friendship. Love it.

    And on top of that the whole Beyonce VMA show AND my bff/Lady of Honor texted me to say she watched a documentary on Kathleen Hanna and she thought of me and appreciated what a rad feminist lady I am! AWWWW best feminist week ever.

    Thank god, because wedding planning (4 weeks to go!) has been hell this week, so I’m glad I got my girls to keep me going.

    • Lauren from NH

      OMG that Beyonce performance was feminist on crack amazing! I felt like I was watch her beautiful, spiritual self actualization. Like she wasn’t even performing, she was just living her truth to infinity. And that superhero pose in front of the word FEMINIST blown up a mile high, made my heart stop.

  • Megan

    Got married last weekend! It was such a happy, happy, happy day. I want to go back and live it over and over again. I also wish I could go back and help me-from-two-months ago understand that it really will be ok, the 108549309 errands and tasks will get done or stop mattering, and try to help past-me see the forest more than the trees. I wish I was a tiny bit more gracious (particularly with my mom and sisters) in the months before the wedding and I wish I had spent more time reveling in the pre-wedding excitement and less stressing.

    Not to lead with the regrets! It was such a wonderful event and I wish everyone many many instances of such happiness, whether on their wedding day or some other day.

    • Lisa

      Congratulations!!

    • Bethany

      Congratultaions!! I’m sure that you were more gracious than you think.

  • Mandertron

    Thank you thank you for the CFBG links. I’ve been one my whole life! Finally, at age 29, I don’t get weird and alienating vibes when I wear palazzo pants and a fro and read my books on cafe patios!

  • vegankitchendiaries

    can we talk about the sofia vergara fiasco at the emmys this week? i was so, so disappointed. disappointed with hollywood, not vergara… (who i already thought is kind of a dick, to be honest)

    • Bindi

      Why were you disappointed? I have an opinion on this, but would like to hear yours first :p

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Silently spinning on a platform while the academy chairman announces how proud they are for giving audiences something “compelling to watch”? Objectification is definitely the word when you treat a person like an actual object. The comment that stuck with me is that the emmys basically made her appear like she was a prize on the Price is Right. It leaves the WORST taste in my mouth… ugh.

        • MC

          Plus the whole “look how diverse the Emmys is now” commentary, despite the fact that so few women of color have won acting awards, while you showcase a woman of color based solely on her looks and not at all on her talent. UGH.

          • vegankitchendiaries

            YES. The “HOORAY FOR DIVERSITY” that clueless idiot was trying to spout was just insult to injury…

        • joanna b.n.

          Um, I felt awful for everyone participating in the 360 video thing. How ridiculous! Yes, now put yourself up there for FURTHER SCRUTINY. Come on, those are actual people!!

  • A.

    Anyone else have in-law relationships that aren’t bad and are even fine, but are just…awkward? It’s not that I don’t like my in-laws or they don’t like me; it’s all perfectly nice and courteous, but it feels like we have nothing to really talk about, beyond the wedding and a few other topics. And even then, it feels more like small talk with an acquaintance that I like perfectly well, but don’t have all that much in common with.

    I know this is hardly the worst in-law complaint of all time – they are loving parents and they support our relationship. It’s just strange because this “at-arms-length” attitude is not how I relate to my own family at all. And I, obviously, have an extremely easy time talking to their son, my fiance. Shouldn’t there be…*something* there? I mean, they raised him! I just never feel like I break through that barrier to real familiarity and then, whenever I do, it always feels like square one when we see them again (usually about 3-6 months apart – might be part of the issue, but not much to do about it).

    It also doesn’t help that they are very touchy about personal life stuff, so they’re less comfortable with “Let’s talk about how you met!” and more comfortable with highly academic conversations, which I only feel like I can contribute to occasionally (and then it’s fine and probably the better conversations – but there’s only so much you (well, *I*) can talk data theory or nutrition studies over a 2 week period…

    Again, I know this is closer to ideal than what many, many people deal with. It just bums me out sometimes (especially while I’m here). Doesn’t help that I’m already naturally introverted! It’s just every time it practically feels like I’m meeting them for the first time, even though we’ve known each other for 7 years. And I’m sure they feel the same way about me, but not sure how to reconcile it.

    • Jessica

      I have that relationship with my in-laws. They don’t really ask questions beyond “hi, how are you,” and don’t know much about me other than that I’m married to their son and am liberal to an uncomfortable degree (from their perspective). While my husband’s been deployed we get together about once a month just to stay in touch but it’s usually kind of awkward. It’s not bad, we just don’t have a lot in common and our families operate in different ways.

    • Lawyerette510

      I understand what you’re saying. My in-laws relate to the world and each other in an entirely different way than my family does, so it’s been a slow ramp-up to me feeling comfortable with them. All I can say is a lot of it has to do with just spending more time with them, so that both they get more comfortable with you and vice versa, and over time you’ll find ways to connect. In my case, it’s me cooking for them. It gives my MIL a break from the kitchen, and it ends up both MIL and FIL are pretty adventurous eaters, especially FIL. I’ve also gotten more comfortable with their just being more stoic than my family and the fact that they are very comfortable and happy all sitting in the same room doing their own thing, so now I embrace it and show up with a book, my laptop, magazines etc and we all just spend time near each other, or I’ll sit in silence with one of them and we’ll both work on a puzzle, which I still don’t love doing but it’s a nice way to do something with them. Husband and I have been together for 6 years (although just married in May), and they only live about 90 minutes away, so that frequency makes it easier, but the first couple years were awkward for me. It also helped that I talked to my husband about ideas of how I could better engage with them, and he would do things like initiate card games or the like to help us interact more smoothly.

      That said, I’ll never have a soul-bearing conversation with them, and I’ve just had to accept that it’s ok despite the fact that it makes me feel like I’ll never be truly close to them, based on what my upbringing has conditioned me to feel is the definition of close.

      • Anonnnn

        Yes! Agree with the stoic thing. I’d never thought of my own family as “talkers” but I guess we are compared to my in-laws, who can go for hours in the same room without really speaking. Conversation with them always seems forced and rather awkward… and it’s so draining to exert all my (introvert) energy trying to think of things to talk about! Familiarity has helped somewhat. And I can tell that they’re more comfortable and chat more on their own turf than when they visit me (which speaks more to their own issues/comfort levels, which I try to be compassionate about). But yes, it’s hard when your way of relating and feeling close can be so very different.

        • Lawyerette510

          Yep, the whole quietly being together thing makes me feel like I have to fill the space with words. We’ve also found that if cards or puzzles aren’t going to happen in the moment, then music in the background helps with my need to fill the noise. Also, having the pets around so we can talk to/ about them. And finally, my SIL now as a 2 year old and has another baby on the way, so when the kids are around that helps because we can just engage with/ about them.

    • H

      I have this problem with my in laws too, but instead of highly intellectual conversations dominating, it’s highly religious or right-wing conversations. I feel so on edge around them despite the fact that we get along well, and they are nice enough people. They feel like complete strangers, but strangers that I can’t mess up with. I can’t tell them any un-edited personal stuff, because it is sooo not the sort of thing they would be ok with. They’re the type of people that I genuinely want to be on good terms with, until they come out with something about how they stopped watching TLC because of “all the gays” and then I spend the rest of dinner fuming over how simpering and closed minded they are. I don’t think we will ever be anything other than acquaintances who happen to be related. It’s just the way it goes.

      • Jessica

        I learned the “don’t be full self” thing with my MIL when husband and I were still dating. We passed a restaurant called “Hardwood Grill” and I started making jokes about soft wood (obvious dick jokes, seriously). She politely said “I think they’re talking about the kind of wood they use in the grill, Jess.” The dick jokes just flew over her head. She is a bit like Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy.

        • H

          Gold! I wish I had a dick joke story and not the fact that on our first meeting I tried to answer the question “Do you know what the 12 days of Christmas really stand for?” with “Uh, Advent!”

      • Gina

        I feel your pain! My future father-in-law is the same way – extremely right-wing and constantly feels the need to talk to me about really controversial subjects (guns, immigration, etc.) I usually default to the biting my tongue/smile and nod strategy and just exit the conversation as quickly as possible, but it gets so uncomfortable. To me, it seems inconsiderate that he’s not thinking of my feelings or filtering himself based on my reactions to the conversation, but I guess I should stop internalizing and being hurt by it since it sounds like it happens to a lot of us!

    • T.

      My in-laws and I don’t speak the same language – literally! This was very weird initially and I still find it difficult with my FIL who I find quite intimidating. But in some ways the language barrier has simplified our relationship. We’ve found the few things we can communicate about and been creative in how we communicate – body language etc. We’ll almost definitely never share an in depth discussion on anything ever, but we all share a common interest in their son, my husband, and that’s enough!

      • lizperk23

        That’s the relationship I have with my soon-to-be inlaws…I wish I could talk with them directly, and it’s sort of weird, but I agree that it sort of simplifies it, too!

    • Lauren from NH

      Add in a cultural crossover and I am right there with you.Though in my case there are a whole bunch of negative feelings and resentment brewing right under the surface. They have been polite to me, I won’t deny that, but otherwise they don’t know me one bit. They are very self absorbed and anything beyond their culture or their family holds little interest. They have a lot of prejudices about other cultures and are deeply fearful that the kids who have been born in the US will forget their culture and their family. I have tried to connect through interest in their family and culture, but then I just get treated like I am simple and don’t even know what country they are from (we have been together almost 6 years and I have been to countless gathering) and they don’t know how to reciprocate so it has never built into anything. I don’t think I will ever feel connected to them, but I try to honor and respect them (and fail, but that’s another story).

    • E

      This is me with my in-law and my parents with him. What makes it even a little more uncomfortable is that he has kids (my step-kids now) and my parents have made it pretty clear that they don’t see these kids as grandchildren. (Sad and a bit painful because I will likely never have children, so they probably won’t ever have grandchildren). My parents are happy that I’ve found someone, but I don’t think they see him and his children as family. I think his parents are the same way. We’re all nice and cordial with each other, but there definitely isn’t a family bond beyond my husband and I. For me it just is what it is.

    • Nell

      I’m sure my FW feels this way about my family. We are also a family that has intellectual conversations, not conversations about our personal lives.

      Have you talked to your fiance about what each of you expects out of your interactions with his family? One possibility is that they think they’re being respectful of you by not asking any personal questions – particularly if one or both had to deal with overbearing in-laws as a newly married couple.

      • KC

        Yes. Family expectations are all over the map, and also, yes, sometimes they’re basically overcompensating for a Bad Inlaw Experience they had themselves. If this is the way they tick, then this is the way they tick, and it’s easier to roll with it than if you feel like they’re only awkward with you.

      • Bets

        My family is the same way – we have great intellectual discussions, but I would never share the details of my personal life with my relatives. I’m a pretty stoic person. I actually find that H.’s family can be too friendly sometimes, which is really nice but also draining for my introvert energy (everyone wants to know what I’ve been up to? but I hate talking about myself and this isn’t a networking conference), whereas in my family you can just curl up with a book and the cat after Christmas dinner.

      • A.

        Whoa, you might be onto something there. My FMIL is estranged from *her* MIL – I can’t believe I never considered that as a contributing factor. Mostly because it’s such an extreme situation that would not be applicable at all to our interactions, but that kind of extreme situation can cause paranoia. Huh!

        And to be clear, I do enjoy intellectual conversations…I’m a nerdy/theoretical person with a pretty strong academic background. It’s just a *different* academic background than what they have (with some small overlap) and I’m pretty strong in the whole ‘don’t talk about things you don’t know about’ mindset. So I ask questions where I can, but it’s often very far above my head and I can’t even ask intelligent questions after a certain point. It also leads to the feeling that they don’t really care about who I am as a person, beyond my academic achievements and work. So it feels more like talking to colleagues and people I’d meet at conferences than talking to a family member (perhaps unfairly).

    • Bethany

      I completely relate. I don’t have much advice though. I’ve talked about it with my partner which helps and when we’re driving to see his mom or dad we try to brainstorm conversation topics. There are still a ton of awkward silences or times when I’ll be silent for 20min (unusual for me), but it helps knowing that he knows and we have signals for when I’m two beats away from blurting out something very odd like “so, do you know what furries are?” because I’m bored and can’t stay silent much longer. He also now packs a tequila flask and mimes drinking it when his mom gets on tracks where she knows I have nothing to say — I still have nothing to say but at least I’m genuinely smiling then!

    • yeppers

      This is how my relationship is with my in-laws, and it’s also how my FH’s relationship is with them (theirs is a bit closer, but still just kind of awkward). We just don’t have anything in common with them, and they often (lovingly!) say they have no idea where my FH came from or how he’s related to them. So far (and it’s only been 4ish years), we haven’t really figured out how to be closer, although I’m not sure we’ve really tried.

    • G

      Is there any way you can do some sort of experiential activities with them to build common ground? Even playing board games (we just taught my in-laws a new card game, but we also often play cooperative board games) can give you something to build on, and give you more insight into what they are like. Going to plays (Shakespeare in the Park?) or other activities might help too.

      Good luck… I’ve known my now-in-laws for about 9 years and I also felt pretty disconnected most of the time. Playing board games has really helped bridge that gap.

      • Anon

        Yes! My fiance’s mother is in the same generation as my grandmother, and she can truthfully be a bit odd at times, so at first I found it sort of stilted trying to interact with her. But we found a mutual love for games like Bananagrams so I try to always have that handy if I’m going to be spending lots of time there. It’s fun and helps break down the awkward barrier.

    • Laura C

      My MIL and I actually have stuff to talk about, but it can still be awkward. Very, very different personal styles. Like, about the fourth time she asked how I was doing, I said “ok” in what I thought was a tone upbeat enough to signify that all was well, and she asked “what’s wrong,” I finally said “I think ok is just what I say unless there’s something huge one way or the other.” Lots of little tone and so on things that mean we’re both usually a little cautious, eggshell-walking around each other because it’s not like there’s going to be a big conflict in most cases, but it’s often hard to have a flowing conversation. Really hard to know how to break through that, especially once you’re in the habit of being cautious.

      • Lauren from NH

        I have to say I hate this kind of stuff. I get that everyone comes from difference experiences where it comes to communicating, but I get so frustrated when his family jumps to assumptions that I am insincere or disrespectful due to little flickers of hesitation or what have you that they see in my behavior. They ask insistently if I am okay when I am simply bored from being disincluded. I try not to make wild dramatic assumptions about others tiny behaviors, because without knowing their history, these jumps are usually very off base.

      • Katherine

        My grandmother & I have had the same “just okay?” conversation. Despite the fact that we love each other & I think she’s an amazing person, I have never been to visit her on my own. (She lives in another city.) We’re just so different that I feel like I need a buffer to spend time with her. Thankfully, my extended family loves us both & understands.

        Thankfully, my husband also understands that I sometimes need him as a buffer with his family, even though we get along just fine.

        My younger brother has the gift of being able to engage in conversation with anyone. Some of us just don’t have that personality trait, and I think that’s okay. It can be awkward, but I don’t think it means anything is wrong.

    • Jess

      Not in-laws yet, but yup! I am with you!

      We just don’t have much in common. I have a very active life, they are very sedentary. I am mostly a nerd – literary and science woo! – which meshes fine with their son and not very well with them or his sister. His mom stayed home and is very involved with their social circles while mine worked a lot and doesn’t remember most of my friends names, I like to have structure and plans and they like to shoot from the hip, I’m uneasy with talking about personal things and they are very gossipy. So in short, we have not a whole lot to say to each other.

      HOWEVER, for many reasons I am not emotionally close to my immediate family, so being around families in general is really hard for me, and unlike you, this may be an additional cause of unease in their company beyond the fact that we are nothing alike.

    • Gina

      Yup. It is awkward with the in-laws mostly because their family dynamic IS SO DIFFERENT than the one I’m used to. They’re very arms-distance, polite, never-say-I-love-you (even to their own son) type people. And my family is big and loud and Italian and in your face, all the time. My only advice is, be you, and don’t feel like you have to have the same relationship with them as you do with your family.

  • Lisa

    We’re less than two months out now!! Everything is starting to get real very quickly.

    Also my fiancé started school at Badtown U this week, and I GOT A JOB. Two jobs technically if you count transferring my part time retail job to a location in Badtown so I can keep the discount. The “real” job is for a nonprofit that is very close to my heart, which is making the pay cut a tiny bit easier to swallow. I will be leaving my apartment of three years on Sunday and the city in two weeks, which has me really sad and emotional, but I’m *cautiously* excited about the next step for us.

    • KC

      CONGRATULATIONS! Hooray for getting a job, and at a nonprofit close to your heart, to boot! (here’s hoping the nonprofit is good “on the inside” as well)

      I hope the move goes well! And hope that Badtown turns out awesome. :-)

      • Lisa

        Thanks for your well wishes! :) I hope it works well, too. Everyone seems very nice and sweet so I’m optimistic about the new situation. I was basically their dream candidate since I have a lot of experience in systems that they’re starting to implement to track volunteers, and they’re going to let me take time off during the week in spring semester so I can attend school part time and participate in the university’s opera program.

        Fingers crossed things work out!

        • KC

          That is FANTASTIC. Somewhere that 1. your skills are directly applicable and 2. values you enough to do a non-traditional work/vacation schedule so that the job fits what you want better? Yes, pay cut (provided, like, you can still make rent) is so worth having a life that *fits* better.

    • Bethany

      Good luck with the move and the emotions. Yay for landing a job!!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Two months… it’ll fly!

    • jashshea

      Congrats on the job!

  • Laura C

    I am so excited about this three-day weekend. Especially since I only came back to work from my honeymoon on Tuesday and I get a half-day next Friday, so it just feels like a great way to get my feet back under me after some of the most stressful months of my life. (Not just wedding — my husband taking the bar 9 days before the wedding and us having moved about a month before that.) This weekend my mother-in-law is going out of town and leaving us her car, so we can make a stock-up trip to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and PetSmart, plus we’re going to my husband’s cousin’s for a barbecue kind of situation on Sunday.

    I’m trying to figure out how to replace the lost wedding ring I adored, but have gotten a placeholder ring in the meantime. And while I was typing this comment, Crate & Barrel delivered the insanely expensive chair we ordered when we realized how many gift cards we’d been given, along with another, less expensive chair that we traded in. And it is so comfy.

    So, yeah. Settling back in from wedding/honeymoon/crazy stress is good. Although I would not mind beaming back to the parts of my honeymoon where I was eating at Fortnum & Mason and Laduree…

    • SarahG

      Laduree… YUM. A friend got me their cookbook. It is gorgeous and gold leafed and everything in it takes 48 hours and a small mortgage to make. I swoon!

      • Laura C

        Yeah, we went to breakfast there twice and when the check came the first time, I was thinking “we should’ve put this on the honeymoon registry…” because all our registries got bought out and someone totally would have given it to us. Although admitting we were eating that expensive of a breakfast (and having hot chocolate and pastry for breakfast) might have gotten some interesting responses. But doing it was so worth it!

    • Amanda

      Oh those macaroons!

  • http://instagram.com/mint.car Kamala

    Has anyone thought about passing on the wedding band and just wearing your engagement ring? It’s not that I don’t like the idea of a second ring or whatever (Lord knows I love me some sparkly jewelry) but I really love my engagement ring and it’s not appearing to be a ring that’s easy to match a wedding band to. Thoughts?

    • Lauren from NH

      That’s what I’m doing. And my guy is getting an engagement ring tattoo (he uses his hands a lot and a real ring would get damage or lost quick). And we’re skipping the wedding rings/bands.

    • scw

      I considered this for the same reason. I ended up finding a ring that I like a lot kind of by accident, so I am planning on getting a band, but I don’t see anything wrong with just using your engagement ring.

      • macrain

        Yup, agree! I did the same thing.

    • p.

      This is what I did. My engagement ring is my wedding ring. I skipped the wedding ring for exactly the reasons you mention — I loved my engagement ring, but it’s vintage and wasn’t easy to find a matching band. And I just didn’t feel like I really needed another ring.

    • E.

      We used the same rings (that he made) for engagement and wedding rings. Other than that ring, I’m not a ring wearer and didn’t want more than one ring.

    • Marcela

      I had sort of the opposite situation. When I got my wedding band, it was all I wanted to wear. However it really hurt my husband’s feelings, so I have compromised and wear my engagement ring on my right hand. It feels more balanced to me. Once the babies come though, I’m probably dropping down to just the band.

    • Ragnhild

      We both used the same rings for our engagement/wedding. I didnt want a sparkly one, so they are simple gold bands. We have been wearing them the whole time, and realized in the middle of the ceremony wedding that we forgot to take them off! I dont know if anyone but our maid of honor/best man noticed, as they were the ones that handed them to the officiant…

    • SarahG

      We are just doing bands, no engagement anything. I think it’s really fine either way — you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone, and if people can’t figure out that you’re married (and why is it important to them anyway, most of the time?) they can always just ask. That’s my philosophy anyway. I’ve been engaged almost 6 months with no jewelry of any kind and… I still feel totally engaged and like the people who are important to me, know I am engaged. So, I’d just do what you want!

    • ART

      I got a really plain wedding band but wear it on my right hand, never with my engagement ring. (My engagement ring doesn’t go with any other rings and needs to be all by its special self.) A few people were quizzical prior to the wedding, like our officiant who thought I should switch them just for the ceremony, but my engagement ring doesn’t fit on my right ring finger. I’ve gotten exactly zero comments on the right hand band thing since the wedding :)

      WHICH is to say that if you decide to have no band, I think that’s just fine! Maybe get an awesome, huge cocktail ring for your other hand for special occasions (more sparkle)?

    • Rose

      I’ve been thinking about this myself. I love my engagement ring, and it seems like about the right size of something I want to wear on my hand. But I also kind of really want a wedding band that I can just wear all the time, without worrying about it, so I kind of want a very plain wedding band. But then wearing them together starts to feel like it’ll be a lot. I haven’t figured it out yet.

    • KC

      I think if there are times that you’d still like to wear a ring but your engagement ring isn’t suitable, it’s great to have a plain (or plain-ish) band to wear instead. (like, if you want to wear a ring while camping/hiking/gardening/some-other-activity that would potentially destroy your engagement ring, or if your engagement ring is pointy/scratchy and you’re going to be around tiny nieces/nephews and you’re concerned about scratching them)

      Specifically, I love wearing a ring-on-that-finger for avoidance-of-being-hit-on (and whatever hitting-on remains, I don’t feel annnny need to “let them down easily”, because someone who’s trying to pick up someone married is a Jerk). So if that’s also a beneficial side-effect from your point of view, and if there are times you’re not going to be wearing an engagement ring but the signaling would still be useful, then having something you can wear at those times is potentially good.

      Otherwise, if your partner doesn’t have strong feelings and you don’t particularly care, then I think it’s fine to skip. It’s a tradition, not a law, and it’s not even a Worldwide Tradition.

      • Lauren from NH

        These is something called a ring cozy, a little neoprene band you can wear over you rock to protect it when you are doing such activities. I haven’t worn mine with my ring just yet, but I am pretty psyched about it.

        http://www.theringcozy.com/

        • KC

          That is fascinating!

          (although I think there might still be things one might want to do wherein one would want not-a-ring-cosy look – but that might take care of all of the exception-cases for some people!)

          • Lauren from NH

            Oh sure enough! I wonder if I might jump over to a simple band some day that I can just wear without a care. I think its a great invention though since I would worry my head off about losing it or dropping it down a drain, this maybe means I will need to take it off less often.

        • http://instagram.com/mint.car Kamala

          I have a ring cozy for my engagement ring that I wear to the gym! It helps calm my nerves about my ring getting lost/stolen/damaged when I’m working out. It is seriously the greatest!

        • Alex

          I just got engaged this summer, and I have never worn rings, so find myself taking mine off SO MUCH (and just forgetting to put it on in the mornings :p) since I don’t want to harm it while doing such afore-mentioned activities :) So this looks like a GREAT idea!

          • Lauren from NH

            FYI they are super friendly and responsive too. I had a user error and ordered the wrong size! I sent them a message when I realized it 5 minutes later and they messaged me back same day and fixed my order.

      • http://instagram.com/mint.car Kamala

        This has been part of my struggle. It’s not that I don’t want a band, it’s just that if I do I want it to be able to stand alone as well as go with my engagement ring so that I could wear just the band if I felt like it. The setting on my engagement ring is flush to my hand though so I either would need a custom band that fits flush to the ring (which I’m not crazy about because it would look strange if they weren’t worn together) or a band that sits with a gap, which I’m also unsure about…

        • KC

          Kinda crazy idea: what about a non-continuous ring? (a ring with a deliberate gap – like a suspension setting without the jewel) It’d obviously be more expensive than a Standard Plain Wedding Band, though.

      • Kayjayoh

        I got a gold chain that I wear on my neck, and when I need my rings off, I unhook the chain and slip then onto it until I can wear them again. My husband calls it my “Frodo chain,” which I think is hilarious.

    • dearabbyp

      I bought a super skinny gold band to go with my very simple solitaire on platinum. Even though it was a simple set up, I think I’ll still end up wearing my engagement ring on my right hand and maybe get a more jazzy wedding band in a few years. I was so burnt out on spending money and worrying about my engagement ring that an $80 14k band from amazon felt perfect for me. Great for traveling too!

    • macrain

      My ring doesn’t lend itself well to being worn with a band, but I still want to exchange bands and I found a band and fell in love with it.
      My engagement ring is white gold (ie- silver looking), and I got a gold band (it is very delicate with little diamonds across the top), so I’m thinking I’ll switch them out or wear one on each hand.
      But if you don’t want a band, I say pass on it. I just happened to really, really want one but I know that’s not the case for everyone.

    • Jess

      Um, that’s my plan and only having a simple band to wear when I travel and don’t want to risk the ring. Probably like sterling silver or something.

      So do it!!!

    • Jennie

      That’s what I did. I really like my engagement ring and it’s custom made so not really good to pair with something else (although we could have had the guy who made it do a band if we’d wanted to). I love it.

    • http://kara-tanoue.blogspot.com/ Kara T

      I did this! I love my engagement ring, but the setting made it hard to match with a band. Plus I have tiny, tiny hands to begin with, so 2 rings on one finger is really a bit much. We skipped the wedding band, and I am perfectly content with my decision.

  • scw

    how far ahead of time does apw plan posts? I’ve been working on something for growing up but it doesn’t feel finished yet and I’m not sure if I should just go ahead and submit it or keep working on it (or if I’m already too late!).

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Football!!

    After “red-shirting” last season because our baby was only 2.5 months old (breastfeeding on the sidelines last year was a real confidence booster), I’ll be back on the sidelines working chains with my husband at a local high school. This will be his fourth year and my third. It was some random thing I put on my life list years ago and here we are doing it. Paid date nights for the win!

    Wish us luck though. We’re bringing our daughter and a babysitter for her to the game, keeping her out 2 hours past bath time because our logic is it’ll be easier for her to be distracted at the game then to have her yell at a babysitter at home for 2 hours because she won’t go to bed for anyone but me.

    • Sparkles

      I babysat for a couple while they played softball a couple of times. It was actually pretty fun, we just wandered around with the stroller and got to hang out outside. And even though she’d get really cranky on the drive home, it wasn’t my problem to fix it. So I just got to ignore the screams. Great times.

      • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

        That’s pretty much what happened. She wandered around carrying her dogdog with her and checking out all the grass and sticks she could find or rode around in the stroller. She got to bed 1.5 hours later than normal and was clearly exhausted when we got home, but she didn’t scream at all.

        Now we just need to figure out how to keep the bugs off her. I dressed her in long sleeves and pants but she’s still got bites on her wrists and face.

  • Bethany

    Certainly not too early, it’s 5oclock somewhere in the Atlantic… I’ve gotten another rejection letter this week, as has my partner (woot for dual unemployment!), had an interview just be awkward, and had an HR rep try to schedule an interview on one of the two days when I’m unavailable in the next month (I’m attending a major digital marketing conference since I see no reason to stop learning about my field just because I’m unemployed).

    In happy news, my partner and I did have a conversation about whether it would affect family harmony if we became officially engaged before or after my first neice/nephew is born in November which was really sweet.

  • Sarah

    Speaking of the earthquake…I was there! Let me tell you, I’m a California native and am usually unimpressed with earthquakes, but this one was indeed freaky. I live about an hour from the Napa valley but was staying there overnight to do a hot air balloon ride with my mom for her 60th birthday. I woke up around 3am having to pee but decided to stay in bed.. A few minutes later I felt vibrating, thought “oh, an earthquake,” (unimpressed) then all of the sudden it was like someone picked up the bed and shook it violently. I’m surprised I didn’t fall out of bed! My husband instinctively dove on top of me which made me scream bloody murder. For some reason I was ok with getting the shit shaken out of me but not ok with being restrained. My screaming made my husband and sister scream, which made me scream more. As I came to full consciousness (we were all still kind of half asleep) I start screaming “I’M OK! I’M OK! STOP SCREAMING! JUST AN EARTHQUAKE! WE’RE FINE!” but I was still totally screaming even though in my head I was thinking “it was just an earthquake and it’s over; why are we all screaming?” Haha, semi-conscious brain is funny. My 5-year-old niece was staying in the room with us and she was the only one not screaming, although she did tell me later, “you were loud and you woke me up,” as if the earthquake didn’t matter at all, ha. After the shaking stopped (they’re short, like 10-20 seconds) we went to my parents’ room to check on them because we couldn’t get through on our phones. We were worried about our 83-year old grandma who was also staying with us. Luckily everyone was fine, but we had to evacuate the hotel temporarily as a precaution. Our room was ok, just some bottles and glasses overturned and drawers open, but I guess in some rooms the TVs and drawers fell, people had broken glass, etc. There was a crack in my parents’ ceiling and the paint was coming off the walls. No one was injured though. So we just got our clothes on and hung out in the lobby until it was time for our sunrise balloon ride. The ride ended up being cancelled because the power was still out so we just hung out in the Napa valley the rest of the day, tasting wine, eating good food, and checking out the damages. It was a weird day. Most people were scared off so we had a winery tour to ourselves. It was by far the strongest earthquake I’ve felt (I felt 1989’s Loma Prieta but I was 60 miles from the epicenter for that one – it just felt like ocean waves) but luckily we were all fine. I feel terrible for the folks whose homes were destroyed or lost possessions, and of course for anyone who was injured, but luckily it wasn’t as destructive as it could have been.

    • Meg Keene

      It’s so weird to have missed it. I feel like I need a So. Cal native about my age to give me a review. We grew up with so many earthquakes that when we looked it up this weekend, it was pretty absurd. We had four quakes pretty near us over 6.1 in two years (most closer to a 7.0 average). Two of them were on the SAME GODDAMN DAY and we were right in the middle. Landers/ Big Bear was… memorable. That whole period was a smallish quake every 6 months at least. So this long period with no big quakes is SO STRANGE to me. Like, I’d like more quakes please, because we need them to loosen the tension in the earth already!

      The radio said that because there had been no major quakes in CA since Northridge (20 years ago now!!!) most people in CA had never been through a reasonably big quake… which just BLOWS MY MIND. Blows. My. Mind. David pisses me off because he usually won’t even stand up in a earthquake unless it’s like, over 4.5. I’m like “GET UP! GET TO THE DOORWAY!” and he’s like, “Nah.”

      Anyway, I’m really glad this quake was as non-destructive as it was, and really sorry for the people dealing with damage or worse injury…. or honestly, the trauma of dealing with your first big quake. That’s really hard stuff.

      • Sarah

        I’ve always been in the Central Valley and/or Bay Area so the only big one I remember was Loma Prieta. I experienced several in Berkeley but I barely noticed them because they were so small. I’m like your husband, I just ride the waves unless it’s reallllly big. Even in this one, we all just laid there. Some good friends of mine were just talking about the ones in LA in the 90s. They grew up in South Central and we were joking with them about how LA was basically going to hell during that time.

        • Meg Keene

          I guess in retrospect it was!! That’s how it was through the 80s too (like, slightly smaller, but I can’t even begin to count the number of times my mom came screaming into our room and shoved the whole family under this massive desk.) So that’s just my idea of normal. Which is why I first found people’s reactions to this odd. (People were like “what are the chances?” and I’m like “Uh… 100%?”) and then realized we haven’t had big quakes in 20 years (I was gone 10 of those years so I wasn’t tracking very closely), and THEN realized that means people haven’t experienced them. Crazy! And scary if you haven’t been through them! (There was a tiny quake a few years ago and I got to work and someone was talking about how terrified they were, and I thought he was being funny and laughed and then I realized he was NOT being funny and NOT a native and then I was trying to backtrack like crazy. WHOOPSY.)

          Also, Northern California is just far less seismicly active then Southern California. There are still pretty noticable quakes in LA every six months or so. Most of the time our family won’t even mention them, and I’ll find out from someone else, and then I’ll ask my parents and they’ll struggle to remember the quake last week. At least it makes you…. used to it???

      • CW

        I’m from Napa, and most of my family still lives there. It was a far more destructive quake than what’s been reported on the news, and the areas hardest hit aren’t mansions or wineries on the hill but the areas of Napa where working- and middle-class folks live and work. While the valley’s a tourist destination, the town of Napa (and the towns of American Canyon and Vallejo, which were also affected) is full of people who are just trying to get by. It’s been hard for me when I see jokes on social media about “oh no, I hope my future wine is okay” because I have family and friends who were seriously affected (my best friend’s mom’s house SEPARATED IN TWO and was red tagged, which means that she’s not allowed to reenter it until it’s 1) inspected and assessed; 2) repaired; and 3) inspected and approved again). Add in the fact that earthquake insurance is so prohibitively expensive that over 95% of people in Napa don’t have it, and there are a lot of people seriously financially hurt. The only blessing is that overall the injury count is lower than it could have been (although sadly people were injured, and one woman in her 30s died of a heart attack).

        As you can imagine, it’s been a week of ALL OF THE FEELS. It’s hard being far away and not able to do much.

        • Lawyerette510

          Ugh all the focus on wine has been making me so mad. We’re in Oakland and definitely felt it, and it’s really hard to imagine what physically it must have felt like for the folks closer too it. It was not small, but because it didn’t do much damage to things that make for good pictures, the fact that the coverage has been about the wine instead of that there are so many people with damaged homes has really made me mad.

          There was an interesting KQED’s forum this morning on earthquake insurance, why it’s so expensive, what is happening in the industry with changes re policies offered etc, and really valid questions raised about why it’s not required by mortgage underwriters like flood insurance for homes in flood plains is. One of the issues with earthquake insurance is the low participation, which is to some extent driven by the high cost of policies and the associated high deductible.

          • ART

            I felt it on the peninsula (strong!), and was AMAZED when I saw how far away it was, it must have been awful in Vallejo/Napa (I was near the epicenter for Loma Prieta, so I can mostly imagine). There were also…how many fires that got started? and water mains bursting…ugh. No joke. I was a little annoyed by all the “I TOTALLY slept through it” posturing on facebook the next day. Like, you’re in the South Bay, good for you.

          • Lawyerette510

            Yeah the slept through it piece really seemed to minimize it, like the wine focus. I even saw one person who was like “wish it would’ve happened in the day so I could’ve felt it at work.” What a caviler and ridiculous comment! The reason there weren’t more injuries etc is because it was in the middle of the night when people were in bed, so they were less likely to be up and about where they could be thrown around by the shaking, hit by falling objects or hit by falling buildings. There was a big blues festival in downtown Napa about 12 hours before the quake, it would have been way worse in terms of people injured had it happened during the day.

          • CW

            Ooh, that sounds totally interesting. I’m totally going to listen to it. I miss KQED!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      It woke us up on the eastern side of the Peninsula. I texted my mom, on the coast, to let her know we were ok. I figured if she was up, she’d check her phone, and if she wasn’t, she’d see it when she got up. Apparently she leaves her text message alert on through the night, so my text woke her up. But then the hospital started calling because her patients wanted to go home early, so I guess it was ok I woke her up….

  • KC

    I feel very conflicted admiring something produced by playboy.com, but that flowchart is fantastic.

    • Guest

      I hate to spoil it for you, but it isn’t really by Playboy.

      http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/09/17/2638361/feminists-hack-playboy/

      • KC

        The flowchart in question is actually hosted on their site, not on a separate site like the guide linked to in that article, so instead of just building a fake website, someone would have had to actually hack into the webservers and put up an anti-catcalling flowchart and then have them not notice. I’d be surprised.

      • MC

        Yeah, that article is from last year when Force made a fake Playboy campaign. They also did a fake Victoria’s Secret consent campaign, but this catcalling flowchart is, very surprisingly, actually from Playboy.

  • Mary Jo TC

    Last week we traveled for a wedding and it was amazing. When we got the invite, we figured since we’d be traveling anyway, we’d take an extra couple days and make a vacation of it (first one we’ve had in 3 years). Highlights of our trip to Providence RI: catching up with college friends at the wedding and dancing all night, RISD museum on gallery night, Roger Williams zoo, Waterfire, an evening walking Boston’s waterfront in perfect weather, sleeping late in a hotel bed, lots of seafood, and reuniting with our baby in the airport! (Thanks to all who helped us figure out the trip!)

    Advice for parents and expecting parents: set a breast feeding goal/weaning deadline and plan a vacation without the baby just after. It’s seriously the best thing we’ve done for our marriage since having a baby. We’re better rested than we’d been in almost two years and reconnected as a couple and had a great time exploring a new city. It was like a second honeymoon. Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to have a retired, able-bodied mother-in-law who’s eager to keep a toddler overnight for 4 nights. If 4 nights is too many, 2 were enough to really allow us to feel relaxed and connected and well-rested.

  • Katie

    TWO WEEKS LEFT UNTIL OUR BIRTH OF VENUS MEETS SALTY PIRATE WEDDING. And I’ve got a serious case of the happies.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      1) Is that your ACTUAL theme?!
      2) Can I be someone’s plus one??

    • EmilyRose

      September 13th? We’re wedding buddies! TWO WEEKS!

  • weak google fu

    Any suggestions for wonderful, affordable DOC’s (<$1k) and photographers (<$2500) in the LA area? I know they're out there, but I can't seem to find them! Help, APW!!

    • Katharine

      We used Phoebe Joy (PhoebeJoyPhotography.com) in that price range. That was 3 years ago though, so her prices may have gone up since then, but worth asking. We loved her and our photos!

  • Sabrina

    Etiquette question: I bought a wedding gift off of an online registry and had it delivered to the couples home. Should I still bring a card to the wedding? Or is the gift enough?

    • EAO

      Please don’t — I got soooo confused by people who did this! My system of tagging registry gifts was made so much more difficult by extra things from the same guests arrived. I sorted it, but it took a lot of time.

      • ART

        @Sabrina, What if you write in the card, “I hope you enjoy the (things I got off your registry)”?

        • vegankitchendiaries

          Agree. Get a card. They’re such lovely keepsakes! I used to work for a card and gift company for years so I have stronger than normal feelings on writing cards for milestones, mind…

          I’d definitely mention in the card. “Hope you and Jo enjoy the electric knife!” or whatevs.

          • ART

            Totally – I will toss some of the cards I’m sure, but we actually got two of the same card from different guests and I’m thinking of framing it (along with a few others, like a handmade one from an artist friend) – it’s two skeletons and it says ’till death do us part is for quitters.’ I know that’s not always the most popular sentiment on APW but we loved it, so irreverent and awesome. I would rather have that on my wall than a wedding photo :)

          • vegankitchendiaries

            Ah ha ha! I love that, it sounds amazing! We got a wee cartoon one that said “i’m glad you two decided to shit rather than get off the pot” which was my fave. :)

          • ART

            haa! i love it. but i am the girl whose favorite magnet is a cartoon of a fly standing on the sidewalk with a cardboard sign that says “will work for shit” – I’ve been toting it from fridge to fridge since my dorm days. no comment on its relevance to my career choice.

    • ART

      My approach at the two weddings I did that for this summer was to bring a card. I was really happy when people gave us cards at ours, they were so fun to open even when not attached to anything or containing anything. I was actually surprised about certain guests at ours who didn’t bring a card – not that I expected gifts or anything, but like why did THAT person not bring a card, definitely thought she would!

      • Laura C

        Well, that goes to show how individual this is. It never occurred to me people would bring cards unless it was because they were giving us money. Not because I felt like everyone should be giving us money, I hasten to add, but … I don’t know, cards just weren’t on my mind. I guess, as I think about it, I was so focused on being sure that we sent thank-you notes to everyone who gave us a gift that cards just felt like, ok, I don’t need to write this down because we’re not sending a thank-you note for a card, so I’ll look at it later. But later has yet to come.

        • ART

          Haha, truth. I am definitely a card person, whereas my husband never has been (and never has gotten me a card, for anything). And yet the night he proposed, it was because I gave him a really sweet anniversary card – he’d been thinking about proposing for months but didn’t know how to do it, and that just pushed him over the edge, emotionally. So, cards FTW? :)

    • SarahG

      The gift is enough, but cards are lovely and I am already attached to the two we have gotten in the mail. If you have the time, go for it. If not, don’t sweat it.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      For reasons beyond me, etiquette seems to be moving in the direction that you must have something to leave at the wedding – a gift with card attached, or just a card. At least, that’s what I read in non-APW forums. The idea seems to be there must be evidence you attended (in case there’s no guest book and the photographer misses you in all the photos). My older etiquette books assume all gifts will be shipped and no one brings anything to receptions.

      Personally, I’m totally not a card person. I read all the cards we got at our wedding, smiled, and put them in a box. We’re preparing to move, and I’d really like to toss them – at least the ones with only a signature, but I feel bad.

    • Natalie

      I personally would not be the least upset if guests do not bring cards to my wedding. I have no idea what the official etiquette is. The last wedding I went to I completely forgot to bring the card I had bought, and ended up giving it to the bride weeks after the wedding.

    • Caroline

      You don’t have to bring a card. If you wanted, a card with a sweet note would probably be appreciated but not expected. A card with a pre-expressed sentiment and your names is probably sort of meh, unattached to a gift. So If you have something thoughtful to say, bring a card but otherwise, no need. (Ie, if it just says, “Congratulations!”, you probably said that on the tag with the package, and in person, and the guest book, so no need.)

  • Jules

    Seeking advice re: engagement ring stone.

    I’ve been wavering back and forth between a diamond and a peach sapphire for the last several months. The setting will be rose gold, oval halo.

    SO ordered a LOVELY peach sapphire for us to look at. It was absolutely gorgeous: a perfect color, a nice size, but when we held it up next to his rose gold watch, it practically blended in. There’s very little contrast. The halo is very subtle, so I worry it will end up sort of….disappearing instead of “popping” (think: white stone in rose, Kate Middleton’s ring, etc).

    I genuinely think the peach sapphire is beautiful, but I think I prefer the look of the white stone (we’ve looked at loose diamonds too). Hard to know; we’ve not seen it in the setting. If we’re going that route, SO feels strongly it should be a diamond, but…I feel bad about that. Bad because it costs much more, it’s the “normal” choice, and….I guess makes me feel sort of materialistic…after all, it’s thousands for something that doesn’t serve a function other than to be a pretty symbol.

    Places like Reddit and Mr. Money Mustache are no help; they’re just full of angry rants about how if THEY were a woman, they wouldn’t be so materialistic, diamonds are bullshit, invest in stocks instead, etc. [Yeah, I’d like to see what kind of car that person owns. Or if they have any artwork or home decor. Or anything else that’s essentially functionless except for aesthetic symbolism.]

    What do I do? Maybe the stone only feels like a big choice for the first year and after that no one cares anymore…Maybe I’m freaking out over nothing and we should just have the sapphire set.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Get the thing that looks like the thing you want and never EVER listen to dbags on Reddit.

      I wanna say don’t worry about being too traditional, either… Most wedding around these parts have some traditional elements (diamond ring, veil, bouquet toss, bla, bla…) mixed with the non-traditional (petting zoos, magenta wedding dresses, brides in pants, bla bla…). I don’t see any reason to base these choices on anything else than what’s best for you.

      • Jules

        I guess the assumptions people might make based on my having a diamond bother me. (Oh, she must be such a bitch/gold digger; she has X carats. Oh, what a follower, I bet she didn’t think about gemstones. Wow, how selfish, there are starving kids in Africa.) But….what do they know. If I went gemstone, there would be other assumptions to deal with too.

        • vegankitchendiaries

          In my experience, people are a lot less judgemental of this kind of thing than you’d think. I dunno… maybe that’s just the crowd I roll with but even in the office I didn’t get too much “here’s my opinion about your chosen stone…” let alone “here’s my opinion about what your ring MEANS”. I want to be able to confidently tell you you’re over thinking this one but, for real, maybe people in your neck of the woods think differently about the symbolism and meaning behind this kind of thing..

          • Jules

            You’re probably right though. I just need to pick one. I know he won’t buy something he can’t afford, and worrying about ALL the implications is driving me nuts. Jeez, I hope I don’t implode when we plan the actual wedding.

          • Lawyerette510

            I’d also look at it this way, the people who judge what kind of ring you get are going to find something else to judge about you if not that, so don’t worry about them. As for your FH’s desire to give you a diamond, the engagement ring is a gift (and a promise and some would say a contractual offer) which is his to give to you and your choice as to whether to accept it. If you’re truly not comfortable with a diamond for your own reasons, let him know, but if you’re not morally or emotionally opposed, why not let him offer you this gift?

          • Jules

            This is very true.

            True. Since he won’t buy something he can’t afford and is happily (not begrudgingly) hunting for it, I think I can let it go. I’m actually looking for his ring simultaneously, and I admit that the wishes of the gift giver are very important, too! It’ll be his…but I picked it out.

        • Lauren from NH

          There are “recycled” diamonds also. I am not sure how difficult they are to get a hold of. But if that helps on the principles side of things it’s an option.

          • Lawyerette510

            Jewelers buy estate pieces all the time and pull them apart for the stones and metal, especially independent jewelers. They can be a great source for a diamond that’s not new. It doesn’t mean that it’s fair trade or whatever, but it’s not coming from mines currently. Also, depending on the relationship you cultivate with the jeweler, they might be able to give you a better price. A friend worked with a jeweler to design the whole engagement ring (setting and everything) and then the jeweler kept his eye out for the right stones for it when doing buy-backs.

    • ART

      FWIW, I have a moissanite (white stone) and I love it. For the first six months or so I thought, hmm, should I have gotten a diamond after all?? Then I completely stopped asking that question. So if you think you might want a white stone that isn’t a diamond, I’d go ahead entertain that thought at least for a while. I’m super happy with my $135 rock. NO ONE ever asks me about it. And if they did, I’m the kind of person that would be like, DUDE WE SAVED SO MUCH MONEY. so ymmv.

      • Jules

        Man…this is really tempting. I wonder if SO would go for that. He sort of has his heart set on diamond and gets excited by the specs.

        • Sarah McClelland

          If he’s got his heart set on a diamond look into vintage rings. I LOVE mine so much! And the bang for buck is great in a lot of cases… FH said it was appraised for twice what he paid.

      • http://instagram.com/mint.car Kamala

        I was just about to throw moissanite out for a suggestion as well! I got a moissanite stone for several reasons, but one was that we just couldn’t afford a diamond in a size that I wanted. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t have loved whatever we did end up with, but I felt pretty strongly that if I was going to wear this ring for the rest of forever, it better be something that I loved. The ring ended up being even prettier than I had imagined, and now I’m that person who won’t shut up about how awesome they think moissanite is!

    • Lauren from NH

      If you haven’t looked in different lights, I would recommend that. Another idea might be, I don’t know if your heart is set on rose gold, or if you have already purchased the band/setting but maybe yellow gold would suite better with a peachy stone? Another option, a different colored sapphire? Mine (when I get it on my hot finger) has yellow sapphires set in yellow gold with moissanite white and champagne diamonds, very golden and warm.

      • Jules

        Oddly, I’m more set on rose than the stone. Haha. I can’t wait to see a picture of yours!!

        His ordering the stone was actually a complete surprise. I don’t think he was planning on showing it to me, but he just really wanted to last night. We’ve been casually looking at rings for a bit, so a formal engagement (where we tell our families and stuff) is sooner than I thought. EE!

        • crazy ring lady

          I got engaged last weekend! So exciting it’s coming up for you!

          • Jules

            Aw, I feel so happy for you and can’t wait for Lauren to get engaged too now!

            I’m secretly pulling for a holiday engagement :X

        • Lauren from NH

          I know that feeling. We have been so stop start and it gets so exciting like revving and engine or something only to be stuck in parking lot a little longer. My partner was laid off at the beginning of the month and being a more traditional fellow that meant even though the ring was nearly done and delivered, proposal on hold. He just got a new job yesterday so we are back on and the ring was delivered last week, so it is all I can do to not dig through his closet when I am home alone. Lol the endorfins in my brain are doing the cha cha.

        • Alex

          If you’re more set on the rose gold than the stone, I’d look into other stones in hopes of having your cake (rose gold band) and eating it, too (not spending an exorbitant amount of money if you don’t want to). I have a blue sapphire (I’m a materials scientist, there was no way I could just put carbon in a ring) surrounded by little diamonds, and I absolutely love it. I didn’t want something traditional, felt silly spending such a massive amount of money on a diamond, and I really like color a lot :)

          And I’m not a jewelry person, but every time I look at it, it makes me happy just knowing that the person I love more than anything in this world picked it out for me and had it made and gave it to me on a ten-mile hike :)

          • Lawyerette510

            I have a blue sapphire too, and I love it! It’s a round cut sapphire on a 4 prong cathedral and the band has little diamonds on the top and filigree on the sides and I love it. Husband picked it out all on his own, so it was 100% a surprise (although we had talked about the idea of a colored non-diamond stone of some sort). I really love having the colored gem.

      • vegankitchendiaries

        That ring sounds crazy! CRAZY GOOD.

        • Lauren from NH

          Oh my goodness thank you! I designed it, style wise, with an Etsy jeweler based on a different ring I saw on a crazy couture site on the interwebs.

          • vegankitchendiaries

            And the winner of the SMART LADY award goes to…. :)

    • crazy ring lady

      Not to add more confusion, but… have you looked into rustic diamonds? I was also torn between having the more “practical,” less expensive, and more unexpected choice of a pink sapphire or morganite, but my now fiance really wanted to buy me a diamond. One day I came across rustic diamonds and they solved all our problems (except the fact that I wanted something very specific that took him about 7 months to track down, but that’s another story…). My ring looks a lot like this one:

      http://www.twistonline.com/wedding-diamond-solitaires/cushion-cut-sienna-rustic-diamond-halo-solitaire

      And I also considered this pinky-er option:

      http://www.twistonline.com/designers-mandrel-studio-wedding/clear-and-red-rustic-diamond-halo-solitaire

      • Violet

        Shut the front door- that first stone in particular is jaw-dropping!

        • crazy ring lady

          Thank you!! Mine is very similar, except yellow gold, and I loooooove it. It reflects SO beautifully in natural light, too :)

    • Violet

      My $.02: My rose gold and diamond ring looks very different in natural light than fluorescent light. (Which, they don’t even really make incandescent lights anymore, so fluorescent is all there ever is indoors, and I spend a fair amount of time indoors.) I love my ring, don’t get me wrong, but the diamond is mad colorless next to the warm rose gold when under fluorescent lights. In the sunshine, it’s got all these pretty colors. So, if color at all is a factor for you, I think the peach sapphire is a better choice. I know cut can affect the amount of “fire” reflected and I opted for an Asscher cut which has very little fire, but just something to consider.

    • Ilora

      My ring is white gold with a morganite (light pink) stone. Morganite is usually set in Rose gold but I found the same problem as you’re talking about with the stone blending in with the band.
      I got mine custom made in white because I love the contrast between the stone and the metal and how lovely the pink looks. It’s one of those things that just a personal preference thing cause really other than the sparkles most diamond+white gold/platinum kinda ‘blend in’ too. So if you do ‘t mind the blending just go with it, if you’d prefer the contrast between stone and metal the. It’s up to if you have stronger feelings about the Rose gold or about the peach sapphire.
      The ring sounds like it’s going to be awesome no matter what you do!

      • Jules

        Beautiful!!

      • Lawyerette510

        Stunning ring!

    • SuperDaintyKate

      Cushion cut pink/peach sapphire in rose gold with a halo, right here. I, too, wanted a sapphire for ethical-ish reasons. I can say that my stone pops against the rose gold. Bear in mind that the watch has a lot more rose gold to it than the ring will, so there will be less for the ring to blend in to. In fact, with my ring, the rose gold blends into my skin, so the sapphire REALLY pops. (Also, I love my ring.) I should add, though, that saphires are cloudier than diamonds, so they don’t have the same sparkle you might expect.

      When I first got my ring, I felt like I needed to “admit” to everyone that it was a sapphire, not a diamond. My Person corrected me on that after a few days. It isn’t necessary to apologize or explain the choice to anyone. I’ve grown comfortable with that. If people ask (and they seldom do), I tell them its a sapphire. If they don’t ask, they can go on believing I have a diamond three times the size of what we could afford.

      I don’t know if that’s helpful. I’m not firmly in the diamonds are rubbish camp- they’re beautiful and if you want one, go nuts. But a pink/peach sapphire worked for me (and DOES pop).

      • Jules

        That is the most helpful information I’ve had on the subject so far!! A lot to think about. And your second paragraph is gold. :)

  • Peabody_Bites

    APW is all things to all people, right? So I’m hoping for some travel advice. I am planning a holiday in Charleston and Savannah in November with my husband and baby (under 6 months) daughter. I know there are a bunch of Southerners here and I’d be super grateful for some input. My husband and I are into food when we travel – how welcoming are fancy, and non fancy, restaurants going to be to a small (but silent) baby at lunchtime? I don’t expect anywhere to really welcome her at dinner time, which is past her bedtime anyway, and so we will Air BnB houses/apartments and cook at home at night, which we love to do. Any recs for such restaurants, especially BBQ?
    And a harder question – is there anywhere that anyone knows of on the water, ideally beach but lake or river would do, within a 90 min radius of either city, or on the way down from DC, where we could rent a small house with a garden and a deck and a grill for 4 or 5 days which isn’t a condo or in a gated community? In my head, this looks like one of the houses from Dawsons Creek, which is my current night-feed-crack.

    • ap

      Hey Peabody – I live in Charleston and can definitely help you out. A lot of the fancy restaurants here are not open for lunch, but the ones that are should be fine with babies during the day. There’s a new BBQ restaurant here called Swig and Swine that’s got great reviews. I’d definitely take a look at Folly Beach and Isle of Palms rentals. Hope that helps!

      • Peabody_Bites

        Thanks AP – that’s helpful. I have been looking at Folly Beach and Isle of Palms but its difficult to get a sense of them as places – what sort of towns are they? Thanks so much for the BBQ rec as well.

        • ap

          They’re both small towns. Folly is mostly walkable, very very low key, a little eccentric but in a good way. IOP is different. It’s got a mix of young + older retired/wealthy people. Both are mostly residential with a small strip of retail/restaurants and both should have rental houses that are large enough for what you’re looking for. I’d be inclined to choose Folly over IOP, but that’s just me. I’d be happy to chat with you further about it – feel free to email me at a.e.poulnot(at)gmail(dot)com.

          • Peabody_Bites

            Thanks AP – appreciate it. My husband’s making dinner, but I’ll definitely be in touch over the next couple of days.

    • Bethany

      I think that Virginia Beach might fit the bill for the second part of your request. I first went there when I was little and my parents rented a house, we then went back a few years later, and have gone twice since my siblings and I became adults. We always rent through http://www.siebert-realty.com/ and the houses are lovely, not gated, but quiet. Some have tiny gardens and many have decks or balconies with grills.

      • Amanda

        We’ve rented from that company too. Got a different house every time!

    • Violet

      I have traveled to both before cities and loved them both! Recommend Leo’s ice cream and Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room while in Savannah, and Poogan’s Porch (you just… HAVE to go here) in Charleston.

      • http://innercupcake.blogspot.com innercupcake

        O M G. Seconding the Poogan’s Porch- it was spendier than we usually go for when we eat out, but soooo good. I also really like Toast (I think Toast of Charleston), which was a diner type place we went for brunch one morning that had amazing food. I’m still dreaming about the egg on crabcake on fried green tomato combo I had there.

        • Violet

          Omg, I had that exact thing at Toast! The fried green tomato, crabcake, and poached egg, right? Omgggggggg…

        • Marcela

          Poogan’s Porch is so amazing; the smoked gouda mac n cheese…. I die.

        • Marcela

          Friends of ours have this super cool bar called the Gin Joint in downtown Charleston, yummy bar bites and old style cocktails served by men in funky mustaches and bow ties.

    • Sarah McClelland

      My FH proposed right before we left for Savannah!

      Moon river is a microbrewery with a great patio. Kid friendly. The Distillery is also pretty awesome and kid friendly, not far from the historic district. The Coffee Fox is probably the best specialty coffee roaster in the city. Tybee Island as a whole is BEAUTIFUL and really quiet and serene. Vic’s on the River is great for fancy dinner. The Olde Pink House is another Savannah standard.

  • Jess

    That 60 years later Love Letters was a story on the Moth! Hearing Cynthia tell her own story is really adorable and I recommend all of you go listen to it.

  • anon for this

    Guys. I need advice on the cost of a wedding dress. I’ve been shuffling through boards on Wedding Bee (…ugh?), because that community is so, um, open? that they’re always talking monies over there, but I’m still feeling really conflicted. I have fallen in love with a dress that’s $2,500. What do I do? Is that reasonable?

    I feel embarrassed. And so much self loathing. I can’t convince myself that I’m worth that much.

    This sucks, because I know no one can answer this question but me, BUT. I’d still love some advice.

    • SarahG

      You are worth way, way more than $2500. Just had to put that out there.

      • Becca

        Thank you <3 (I'm the now out-of-hiding anon!)

    • vegankitchendiaries

      If you can afford it, go for it! You’re definitely worth it, I promise.

      If money’s tight… have you considered getting a knock off? I had my dress made in a chinese wedding dress factory. They made it for $100 from a picture I’d sent of a $2000 dress I couldn’t afford. I got a VERY similar dress – not indentical, but damn close and one I was VERY happy with.

      • Becca

        You are the best, really :) I haven’t really considered a knock off, because construction and materials are an important part of what I love about this dress. I’m really glad you had a good experience– your dress is beautiful and I still can’t wait to see more pictures!

    • Samantha

      It is reasonable if you can afford it. When I was shopping I for so many wedding things, I kept asking “What am I supposed to spend on this?” I really should have been asking “What are my priorities?” & “What can I afford?”

      I know plenty of girls that spent well over $2,500 on a dress and some that spent considerably less. I personally had a budget of over $2,500 but ended up spending about $1,000. That was because I loved that dress and found out afterwards it was well under budget.

      Do what feels right and what you can afford. Forget about the expectations.

      • Becca

        Thanks, Samantha. It’s the “doing what feels right” that’s sometimes hard, you know? I’m doing my best to forget about expectations– just have to remember to keep the blinders on.

    • Pileofstix

      Everythign that’s been said below (giiiiirrrllll you’re worth more money than has or will ever exist), and add to that, check out the APW archives on wedding dresses. This article ( http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/10/apw-guide-to-wedding-dress-shopping/) specifially talks about a lot useful things (like what the difference is between a dress that’s less than $1k and more than that.).

      • Becca

        Thanks! Yes, natural fabrics and fair construction are both really important to me. This dress makes me feel REALLY GREAT, and I think I need to honor that.

    • Jules

      $2500 is NOT too much for a wedding dress if it fits in the budget and is one of the super-important things to you. I KNOW it will be to me, but I could skip a bunch of other stuff to make up for it…dresses are way important to me. (I still hope to find a used one that I love.)

      Advice: look at overall wedding budget, see where you can reallocate to increase the dress budget, assess why you want this dress and whether it’s really “you”. (Do you feel like a million bucks? Will you look back on photos fondly and treasure it that way?) I’ve NEVER regretted spending $$$ on a gorgeous gown based on the way I feel as long as I didn’t buy it on sight. If I got past the 1-2 week waiting period, it was a go.

      Is reselling for a decent amount a possibility when you’re done?

      • Becca

        Thanks so much, Jules. Definitely of the super-important things! And yes, reselling is absolutely a possibility for me– and I’ll already be the second owner, which is helping the price!

    • Nell

      I am mid-dress shopping myself, so I have lots of thoughts:

      1) I’m assuming that the dress is outside of your budget. If it isn’t – then go for it!

      2) If it is outside your budget, do you need to get rid of some other thing that you want in the wedding in order to get the dress? Is that going to make you sad?

      3) Where are you in your dress shopping process? Do you want to keep trying to find something in your range, or do you feel totally and completely done with dress shopping?

      • Becca

        Thanks, Nell! I’m in the part of dress shopping that feels like I just need to pick something and let myself feel great about it. I could look and look forever, but at some point I just need to choose, you know? It’s hard to know when that is.

        The dress is in my budget, but I’m having a hard time letting myself accept that, I think. What I wear at my wedding is really important to me– I have a history of denying myself and my body, and I want to celebrate and feel great about me– so we’ve definitely structured our budget around the dress and are spending less on other things to make it all work. Just hard to remember that’s okay and such :)

        • emmers

          “I have a history of denying myself and my body, and I want to celebrate and feel great about me”
          This alone makes me think, “hell yes, sista, get that damn dress! It’d be a mistake NOT to celebrate!”
          I know which camp I’m in. It’s in your budget. You’ve budgeted for it, and planned, and you love this dress. Celebrate yourself, and your day, and rock the hell out of that dress!

          • Becca

            Thank you! :)

        • Nell

          OMG, if you have set a budget, and this is in your budget, and you love it – then make it yours!

          I have a lot of anxiety about making a purchase of something I don’t “need” (as in, not food, shelter, or gas for the car). BUT, a wedding dress is also a ritual object that you are putting on to be the getting-married-person that you want to be. So make it happen! Be radiant!

    • Lauren from NH

      Attempting the logical approach to an emotional issue, I would look at your budget and try to assess what areas would need to be decreased in order to purchase the dress and try to evaluate whether it is doable and fits with your priorities to make those adjustments. If instead it is a matter of going beyond your budget without impacting other wedding costs and you can afford it then I suppose you are in a real pickle because like you said it’s up to you with minimal measurable pros and cons.

      Maybe the best thing you can do, if not in a time crunch, is to sit on it. Give it two weeks or a month if there is time and don’t look at the dress, don’t look at any dresses. Then go back with fresh eyes and look at a bunch of dresses and the dress you loved and see if it still speaks to you. Maybe it will be clearer then one way or the other.

      • Becca

        Thanks, Lauren :) I’m going to hold the dress for 3 weeks while I think about it! I so appreciate your response. I always love your comments, so it’s nice to finally “meet” you!

        • Lauren from NH

          You got it lady :) Nice to “meet” you as well!

    • Natalie

      any chance you could find that dress used? or that you would want to sell it after your wedding? Knowing that you can recoup some of initial cost might make you feel less guilty (is it guilt? or stress? or some combination of those things?) about spending $2500 on a dress. I personally plan to try to sell my dress after my wedding to regain some of the money I spent.

      • Becca

        Yes! It is used. Or used-ish– it was bought from another bride who didn’t wear it to her wedding, and it’s new-with-tags. It’s an 18, so not a common size, and would be difficult to find on preownedweddingdresses.com for that reason. I’m definitely considering selling it again!

        And, yes– I think it’s guilt. Or even shame. It’s really between me and myself, I think. I’ve spent a lot of time denying myself and really need to focus more on celebrating!

    • Violet

      You’re right, no one can answer for you. But I uphold the idea that if you can afford it, it’s totally reasonable. As in, within reason. So now for the reasoning part- are you comfortable that you can achieve your other wedding goals even with putting that part of your budget towards your dress? If so, then there ya go! If not, then consider other options. But don’t get hung up on a number without context. To some people anything more than $100 is unreasonable. To others, anything less than $1000 is unreasonable. So don’t fixate on the number, look at the whole picture and see if this piece fits.
      -Says a bride who spent exactly that on her gown and has ZERO regrets.

      • Becca

        Thank you :) I appreciate the reassurance!

    • SuperDaintyKate

      Everyone is totally right– if you can afford it, it’s reasonable. But I want to speak to the self-loathing aspect.

      It is SO SO SO easy to get caught up in the guilt of spending on a wedding even when you can afford it. Don’t get sucked in! Meg’s book put it best– if you can afford that splurge, then be thankful that you have a chunk of money you can put back into this economy to support artists and craftspeople (and designers) whose work you love. Smart advice from a smart lady!

      • Becca

        Ah, thank you. Yes, this is the heart of it, I think, and I appreciate you taking the time to speak to the self loathing. I need to repeat Meg’s words as a mantra :)

    • Alison M

      1. You’re worth it!

      2. I echo what everyone else suggested about reselling it afterwards, unless that feels wrong for you. You might try looking up the designer or even the dress on sites dedicated to this like http://www.preownedweddingdresses.com/ or http://www.oncewed.com/. If the designer is pretty well known, you might recoup a lot of your costs. I know Most of the dresses I am looking at are very expensive, but I’ve been comforted by the fact that a lot of them seem to be selling for a significant fraction of their initial price on these sites.

      • Becca

        Thank you! Yes, definitely considering reselling! I’m a bridal 18, so it’s often difficult to find dresses in my size, but I’m always combing those sites! :) I do think there would be a market for reselling the dress, as it’s so difficult to come by Claire Pettibone dresses in sizes larger than 12.

        I think the dress for this price is actually a really great deal, and I so appreciate all the support. I’m starting to get really excited.

        • Alison M

          Yeah, Claire Pettibone is definitely one of those designers that has good resale value. It may take some time to find a buyer, so I wouldn’t do it if it’s really something you can’t afford, but for me it’s the perfect compromise.

        • Hannah B

          it just seems like it is perfect for you. it’s a great deal on a designer gown, you got to meet her, and you’re supporting a woman-owned creative business. One of the great things about the bridal industry is that there are so many women entrepreneurs out there designing and selling gowns, and you are a part of it! :) and yeah, i think being a bridal size 18 would make your resale attractive to 18, 16, and 14s. Beautiful dress.

      • dearabbyp

        I’m definitely selling mine, despite several people telling me, “what if your daughter wants to wear it??” I think I’d spend less money buying another in 30 years than I would storing a giant dress for that much time.

    • Becca

      Ah! Thank you all so much. This question is from me– I think a good way to start combating the embarrassment and self loathing is to not hide. I’m a little overwhelmed by the kind words and the great, reasoned advice. A million times thank you :)

      The short story is this: This is a Claire Pettibone dress (Luna, for CP fans) that I tried on in April and almostttt purchased. I walked away because I felt terrible about the cost, and the dress went out of production in May. I was casually browsing online earlier this week and happened to find a new-with-tags dress in my size (18! This might be the only 18 ever made!) at a consignment store in North Carolina for $2,500– much lower than our original quoted price, which was over $4,000. And this dress holds so much meaning for us: it has a camellia pattern, which is our city’s unofficial flower :) and we’re sharing the cost of the dress, so it really feels like a investment we’re making together.

      These comments spurred me to put the dress on hold! So I’ll share it now: http://www.fabulousfrocksbridal.com/luna-claire-pettibone-size-18/

      You guys are THE BEST.

      • ART

        gorgeous. and sounds like a great deal. in my next life, i’ll get married in a claire pettibone dress :)

        • Becca

          Thank you! :) yes, all the dresses are so beautiful. I met Claire when I tried this dress on, and she’s also super nice and very approachable, which felt great.

      • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

        GET IT. CLAIRE PETTIBONE IS MY FAVORITE! :)

    • Ilora

      I know I’m a day late and you seem to have mostly made peace with this and put it on hold (woohoo!) but just thought I’d add something. I had a really similar dilemma with my dress a few weeks ago, it was about $2500 which was technically within my budget and the only dress that made me gasp. I loved it instantly.
      But I didn’t want to be “that bride” the one who spends thousands of dollars on a one day dress. This was compounded by the fact that I was shopping with a friend who was married last summer and her whole wedding cost $5000, how could I blow half of her whole budget on one dress?
      The thing is though, that when she saw how much I loved the dress and how much I was stressing about the price she offered to pitch in, she wanted me to get the dress nearly as badly as I did.
      So if any of your money stress is coming from a place of worry about being “that bride” you might be pleasantly surprised by people. And also, you get to decide what’s important to you and if you choose that dress then that’s that!

      • Becca

        Thanks for this very important reminder. I was/am definitely having those worry/comparison/”that bride”/WHO AM I thoughts. Thanks for bringing it back to this: you get to decide what’s important to you. I’m going to try to remember that!

  • dearabbyp

    One week (and a day) out! I’m sitting waiting for my first (and, let’s be real, last) eyelash extension appointment. All my errands left are for making myself all polished and pretty… Which I guess is better than having heavy construction left.

    I know there have been some awesome pieces on regrets, so I’m just going to leave this here and hope it cleanses me of them.
    I wish we had done engagement pictures. We are throwing an extra couple hundred dollars at way less fun stuff way easier at this point.
    I wish I had focused less on being the “cool girl who didn’t care” because it just left me frustrated when I didn’t have opinions or worse, when I had them and no one agreed with me. I snapped entirely too many times at mom and S over these frustrations.
    I wish I had stayed true to my wish to have a short dress. I like my dress, but it feels like a costume. I hope I will feel differently next week.

    Phew. I think that’s it. Not such a damning list when it’s all out there.

    • KC

      Suggestion: consider getting 1-year-anniversary pictures instead of engagement photos. :-)

      And yeah, that’s not a bad list, all told. Hope things go fantastically for you!

      • Sparkles

        Or holiday pictures for your Christmas cards!

    • macrain

      I’m doing eyelash extensions too! Have never tried them.
      I feel the same way about engagement pictures and about having opinions. I’m starting to just give in to shit I don’t want because it doesn’t feel worth it anymore.
      I’m sure you’ll feel and look beautiful, because you are the bride. :)
      Good luck!

      • dearabbyp

        The extensions look a little wild just day to day but i’m getting used to them. Here’s hoping they don’t all fall out before Saturday!

    • Nicole

      I waffled back and forth on my dress and spent most of the time between buying it and wearing it at my wedding wishing I had found a short dress I liked. I ended up adoring the dress at the wedding and after. So fingers crossed that you feel peace about it too!

      Have a great time at your wedding! And I LOVE the idea about anniversary photos. We just might have to do that too. :)

  • Caitlin_DD

    I just got hired at my dream job, so Happy Friday!

    • Bethany

      Congratulations!

    • Lawyerette510

      Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Em(ily)

      Congratulations!!

    • Caitlin_DD

      Thank you ladies!

  • Samantha

    Did anyone DIY their reception music?

    My fiancee and I decided this early on in our 2 year engagement. We went to a few too many weddings where the D.J. ruined the entire vibe of the reception. One notable case where the D.J. literally rapped over several of the songs. Perhaps, if he were a talented rapper this could have added something…but alas he was not.

    Anyhow, we are now a month out from the wedding and I got a call from my dad this week where he expressed concern about our music choice. He is fairly certain it is going to be a complete dud. I am now completely panicked.

    My fiancee and I have spent so much time with the playlist and have selected start/end times for songs, utilizing crossfade, researched the speakers and everything else we need. However, despite all of this effort, I am terrified that our dance-party of a reception will be a complete dud….

    Any advice or success stories would be greatly appreciated!!!

    • ART

      We totally DIYed ours and it was great. It’s a good idea to delegate someone to run the system (laptop, ipod, whatever else you have) that knows what you want and will keep others away :) We had a pretty serious looking sound setup with a mixer and everything b/c we were mic’ed for the ceremony (my husband’s an audio engineer) so no one dared to get near it, but if it’s just a laptop or something, my experience is people are oddly free about going and changing stuff.

    • Bethany

      The best DIY music receptions I’ve been to had someone appointed “keeper of the music” who kept others from messing with lists. http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/11/self-dj-wedding/ has some good tips, I think. Honestly, the music has always been better at the DIY-music weddings I’ve been to than where you have a dj making bad jokes and being cringe-inducing. My best friend was able to download an app onto her phone that her fiance/husband kept during the day that essentially made it a remote to change the volume and even skip songs which was awesome.

    • Lawyerette510

      We DIYed ours as and the music and dance party was great! The only issue was with the sound-system but it was because we were using the built-in speakers at the venue and we hadn’t thought about what they would be like for my dad’s impaired hearing with 50 people around (when we listened to them during one of our walk throughs and it was just the two of us it sounded plenty loud).

      It sounds like you’ve done your research and are well prepared regarding the mechanics and the music choices. I’ll echo ART and Bethany and say have someone who is the “keeper of the music” but also make sure they will do it and talk to them ahead of time about your expectations and what kind of discretion (if any) they have.

      The issue at our wedding was that the “keeper of the music” overall did a great job, but ultimately didn’t respect my husband and I’s decision to leave out one tradition associated with where I (and the keeper of music but not my husband) went to college. I know she was coming from a place of love, enthusiasm and tradition, but the result was that she stopped the music to switch to her phone to play our college fight song and it just kinda brought the dance party to a stop. I know she had the best intentions and she thought that she was giving me something I wanted but had been afraid wouldn’t have worked in the context but she thought would and was excited to share a tradition with me that I had shared with her and some of the other couples at the wedding.

      Ultimately, I should have been clearer when she brought it up. She and our other college roommie/ best friend asked if it was going to happen at the reception and I answered no I didn’t think it would work because groom wasn’t an Aggie, and it was a small wedding and there weren’t that many Aggies. Both of these friends had done it at their weddings and were enthusiastic about me engaging in the tradition. In retrospect, my speaking the truth about my decision would’ve been the right thing to do. I should have said “No, we’re not doing it because I don’t want to do something that excludes Dave and most of the guests and will jack the flow of the dance party.” but I was worried they would take it as an insult of their choices.

      In case anyone is wondering, I’m a proud Texas Aggie and we have a War Hymn (aka a fight song) and at most Aggie weddings it’s played and all the Aggies there join in with the signing and swaying and it’s lots of fun and some of my favorite memories of weddings are of a big group on the dance floor singing and swaying and yelling together with the bride and groom for the War Hymn. In my case, my husband is not an Aggie, and of our 50ish person wedding there were only about 7 of us who were, so it just felt like something that was exclusionary to my brand-new husband and nearly all our guests, and I didn’t want to be exclusionary. And the result was it really took the air out of the dance party.

    • Violet

      This caused me anxiety, so I always try to pay it forward when I read a bride stressing about this. It totally works. As suggested by Bethany and ART, you gotta have someone who can monitor. Someone who doesn’t like dancing much and won’t care to be near the computer/iPod is a good idea. Having a decent sound setup is KEY to make sure it’s loud enough that people can get into it. If you know anyone who’s in a band who can loan you their speakers, that’s a win. The speakers can plug right into your laptop into the headphone jack, I kid you not. I got married over a year ago, and I just had a friend randomly tell me, “I had the best time dancing at your wedding. Like, of any wedding I’ve been to.” You got this!

    • emilyg25

      Yes and it was awesome. I put a ton of time and effort into carefully crafting a playlist that would make people dance. My biggest tips:

      1. Use crossfade (you already have this covered)
      2. Make sure the music is loud enough (dance music should be pretty loud)
      3. Choose a good range of popular songs from several decades. You can throw your own quirky stuff in there, but people really like to dance to stuff they know
      4. Be ready to dance! No one’s gonna let the bride dance alone.

      • ART

        also for dance music, make sure you have bass – bass will make people dance, and without it it’s pretty hard to get in the mood.

        • Violet

          Oh yeah, bass! AND make sure it’s dark enough. People don’t like dancing while being “on display.” Well, non-theatre people, anyway.

          • Natalie

            oh, good point. I hadn’t considered that, but you’re totally right. I’m putting “dim the lights at the end of dinner” on my spreadsheet for DOC duties.

      • Natalie

        Number 4 is especially great. Everyone enjoys dancing with the bride at her wedding, so if she gets on the dance floor, the dance floor will stay packed.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      This is a pretty normal fear, I think. We DIY’d and it was AWESOME. There’s multiple articles about how to DJ your own wedding on APW, and they’re really helpful. :)

    • Natalie

      We plan to DIY our reception music for our wedding in 5 weeks. I’ve made separate playlists for the dinner/background music and the dance party music. I’m still fine-tuning them, but planning the playlist has been one of my favorite parts of wedding planning.

      I went to a wedding a couple months ago where the music was DIY and it was great. The bride loves to dance, as do many of her friends (myself included). She knew what would make for a great dance party for her crowd and played that. It was the best wedding dance party I’ve been to. The dance floor was packed almost the whole time, and a bunch of guests who don’t dance enjoyed sitting close to the dance floor happily chatting and watching their friends/siblings/children/grandchildren get down. As far as I know, no one even considered going messing with the ipod and changing the music. I think she had a keeper of the ipod, but he was fairly unnecessary.

      I, too, have been to weddings where the DJ messed up the vibe. I’ve seen DJ’s mispronounce the bride’s name, call the bride by her husband’s last name when she wasn’t changing her name, and just kill the mood with weird jokes and awkward statements. At my sister’s wedding (in Florida!) the DJ didn’t know the difference between salsa, merengue, and reggaeton music. So when she requested salsa & merengue music, he played reggaeton instead, which no one wanted to dance to, and the dance floor emptied.

      I had a similar argument with my mom, who thought (still thinks?) not having a DJ will kill the reception. I convinced her it would be fine in part because we are planning to have one of our friends MC the wedding, announcing the first dance, the start of dinner, cake-cutting, etc. I think that same friend will be responsible for keeping people from commandeering the ipad and changing the music. I need to decide which of my friends who doesn’t dance a lot is bossy and scary enough to pull off this task.

      • Violet

        Yes, an MC is a good idea too. For us, it was the same person as the music monitor. But someone else would do as well.
        You can tell your mom about MY parents’ DJ debacle- my mom told the DJ she was Greek, so if he had any Greek music, that would be a bonus. He played Hava Nagila. *headdesk*

        • Natalie

          hahaha. This is why I don’t want a DJ. This and wanting to hand pick each and every song played at my wedding.

      • Lawyerette510

        Yes having a friend MC things made a big (positive) impact on our reception too.

        Also, bonus to making the playlists, you can listen to them anytime after the wedding! We listen to ours (but on shuffle instead of in order like at the reception) a lot on road-trips, hanging around the house etc, and it takes us right back there and makes us smile.

        • Natalie

          yes! I’ve been listening to my playlist occasionally to make sure I like the flow, etc. It makes me so happy to listen and look forward to dancing to it at the wedding. I’m sure I’ll love having it after the fact, too.

          • Lawyerette510

            One more thought on playlists, have a playlist on hand for when you’re getting ready. My friends and mom who were supposed to come to my room to get ready were running a little late, and I ended up starting by myself, and I was feeling pretty nervous and realized it was a least partially because it was so quiet, so I pulled out my laptop and put on a playlist I had made of all the songs I loved but felt wouldn’t work on the wedding dance party playlist, and it was awesome. I relaxed immediately, started dancing around while I was getting ready and stopped stressing about where everyone else was etc.

            I was so thankful I had that playlist handy, because I was not in the condition to make decisions about what to type into spotify in order to self-soothe.

          • Natalie

            oh, yes, great idea! I’m totally doing that.

            We’re doing all the set-up the morning of the wedding ourselves (with lots of help from friends and family, of course), and now I think I will make up a playlist for during the morning setup. Happy songs that didn’t make it into the wedding playlist.

    • Sparkles

      My brother DJ’ed our reception and the music was amazing, although I gave him the playlist. He’s had some limited experience DJing before, but he did a really good job. He put together the playlist based largely on my suggestions and was happy to take over the laptop and sound system.

      I went to another wedding where they just played music off their iPod, and everyone kept jumping in and changing the songs, and there were gaps between songs and it was fun but also sort of annoying.

      So, like others have said, have a music keeper. It will make everything much smoother.

    • SarahG

      You can totally do it. I’ve been to weddings where it worked and tanked. Where it worked, the key ingredients: actually designating a real, usable dance floor (not, as in one case, a weird area by a parking lot), having the music be loud enough, crossfading, and being on the dance floor yourself. Our friends’ wedding was self-DJed and they were on the floor all right and so was everyone else — it was a total hit. We also used the app called Wedding DJ for their wedding and it worked really well.

    • Samantha

      Thank you all for your words of encouragement!!!!

      It is so nice to know that others have successfully done this. We have spent so much time researching it and read nearly every article we could find on the topic.

      We have the sound covered, my fiancee’s family is full of musicians who have set up for countless concerts/have every type of speaker/cord/(techie music thing I know nothing about) you could imagine.

      We have separate play lists for the various components of the night (cocktail hour, dinner, dances, reception)

      We are also having our officiant, my best friend, MC all of the dances/toasts.

      Our dance floor is in a central obvious location.

      Thank you for a reminder to have someone watch the music. I would hate for someone to mess with our slaved over play list.

      Honestly, you all have calmed my nerves soooo much! THANK YOU!

      • ART

        sounds like you’ve got it down!

    • Gen

      We DIY’d our music, and it was awesome. We didn’t get to spend nearly enough time working through the playlists as we would have liked, so we basically asked a group of friends to go through our Spotify playlists the night before and order the songs as they saw fit. They did an amazing job, and had fun with it. Our coordinator/MC wound up ill for the wedding, so a very charismatic friend (who, conveniently, doesn’t drink and so was sober through 1 a.m.) stepped in and was a fantastic MC. He also handled triggering the playlists and ordering the songs at the end of the night so the songs I really wanted could get played while I was on the dance floor. It was so much better than a hired DJ. People danced ALL night, totally crazy pants style. I really haven’t ever seen anything like it.

    • Caroline

      We DIYed our reception playlist, and it was great. We did not have quite as much of a dance party as I originally expected although it turns out I was delighted with what we had and not disappointed. I don’t think the less intense party had to do with the music. I think, if we had had an evening party, out of the sun, with a well defined dance floor, we would have had quite the party. Our dancing in a meadow with no dance floor in the afternoon was wonderful, but less of a “dance party” feel. Also if we had a 3.5 minute hora instead of 6 minutes… I was so exhausted after 6 minutes of hora!! but I loved it.

      The music worked out great, and we got so many compliments on our music selection.

  • excitedToShare

    After seeing recommendations here and elsewhere, I bought and started reading “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” this week. I’m finding it super informative, and am also really enjoying reading it — I couldn’t put it down after it came in the mail Tuesday night.

    I also bought a menstrual cup (Lunette Size 1) this week and am in love. I just wish that I had known about them and then gotten one sooner. Highly recommended — there are lots of options and info/recommendations online. (And here’s an Oh Joy Sex Toy comic on the Moon Cup US http://www.ohjoysextoy.com/mooncup/).

    Now I may go order some Dear Kate underwear, also recommended here in the comments.

    Thanks for all of the suggestions, Meg and everyone!

    • Jessica

      Would you like a code for 25% off Dear Kate?

      • Jessica

        It’s XOJessicaBuchberger if you need it.

    • emilyg25

      Also check out Party in Your Pants if you use pads. They sell reusable pads and pantyliners, and their marketing is hilarious.

    • Sparkles

      Hooray for managing and understanding your menstrual cycle like a boss!

      Seriously, this is how I feel every time I use my diva cup and know when I’m ovulating. Like I am winning at this whole menstrual cycle thing.

      Also, just a head’s up, one issue I had with TCoYF was that they advised you to check your mucus with your fingers. I found this gave me a yeast infection. Another method I came across is called the Justisse Method, which avoids that issue entirely, by getting you to check with toilet paper before you pee. TCoYF explains everything much more clearly, though.

      • MC

        I also loooooove menstrual cups in general, and I especially love that when I use my Diva Cup, I sing “Diva” by Beyonce to myself (in my head or aloud, depending). Makes my menstrual cycle so awesome!

    • Nicole

      I also couldn’t believe I waited so long when I finally jumped on the cup bandwagon. They’re so amazing! Complete gamechanger…

  • Ema

    My fiancé and I are moving in together next week. We’re getting married in 2 months. Neither of us have lived with a partner before, so that part’s new. I’m also really nervous navigating this with my parents. They’re politically liberal, but Baptist, and I think they may have objection to the “moral” aspect of living together, though I’m not 100% sure, since I’m pretty sure they realize we spend each weekend together.
    Any advice on navigating this with grace? My fiancé thinks I should just not tell them. I feel dishonest about that, and also like they’d be hurt/upset if they found out that we didn’t tell them. Has anyone else been in this situation? It’s been causing me great angst!

    • Bethany

      I didn’t outright state it to my parents, but I certainly didn’t hide it. I think it was along the lines of “oh, we’re moving that weekend?” “We?” “yeah, [partner] and me. Don’t worry, I’ll email you the address.” and then I switched topics because I wanted to be clear that it was my choice, not theirs (my mom had previously made comments about my sister living in sin).

      • Whitney S.

        I’m with you on this. My parents are all 1952 about this stuff. I just did my thing, and let it come up in conversation. That way, it’s not up for discussion. It’s done. They had already preached at me about “living in sin” and I did what was best for me. No regrets.

        Ema, I think this is the perfect time for your parents to get us to you guys doing things your own way. Its not like you’re gonna pack up the whole family for buying a car or a house or applying for jobs (right?!). You’re off into the wild blue yonder! Either way, there will be some growing pains. You’ll make it out in one piece :-)

    • MC

      Fiance and I have been living together for a little over a year now, and we knew his parents would be uncomfortable with it so we told them ahead of time so they’d have time to get used to the idea. It was a SUPER awkward – his dad talked about how important it was to not have kids out of wedlock/committed relationships and how he believed in waiting until marriage (which by this time was not exactly… up for discussion, but you don’t really want to say that in front of your in-laws, y’know?). And then he later told Fiance that he wouldn’t feel comfortable contributing to the wedding financially if we decided to live together first. Which really hurt Fiance, not because of the money, but because he didn’t feel supported by them in making this decision in his adult relationship. It was rocky for a few months, but we knew it was right for our relationship, logistically and emotionally.

      Lo and behold, we got engaged a month before moving in together and that changed their whole tune – and recently FIL told Fiance that he read an article about separating morality from sexuality and it really made him reconsider his thoughts about living together before marriage! Hooray!

      I say tell them, make sure they understand that you’re making the decision as adults and not asking their permission, and expect things to be a little awkward if they don’t approve. But hey, if they’re happy about your wedding & marriage, they’ll probably get over it.

    • Jess

      I just inadvertently notified my parents that we would be moving in together in the next year by leaving out the letter from our rental property telling us they would let us know of any available units opening.

      SO, I have a great way to handle the post-finding out with grace. Which is that we have made a decision that this is what we want to do, and feel it makes the most sense for our relationship and we’re both very excited about it. I was met with more enthusiasm than I expected.

      As for how to bring it up… accidentally leaving your mail out when they come to visit seems to work!

    • swarmofbees

      You know your situation with your parents best, but in general I would say it is better to tell them in advance. I was TERRIFIED to not only move in with my future husband, but also to tell my parents. Even though my older sister moved in with her now husband before marriage, and before an engagement. But, they accepted it and still loved me. In my case I know they would have been more hurt by me trying to hide it, or just not telling them. Good luck with your move and any conversations with the parents!

  • Bethany

    Did anyone else see the Washington Post piece on “Mr and Mrs Last Name” on wedding invites? The comments are a bit appalling (apparently a lot of people who don’t get how the calligrapher completely ignoring instructions about how to address people and ignoring that some women prefer to use their own first names is actually a big deal). http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/catherine-rampell-the-one-fight-to-have-before-your-wedding/2014/08/28/9ccde2c0-2ef1-11e4-994d-202962a9150c_story.html?wpmk=MK0000200

    • ART

      ohhh that Crane & Co etiquette page they reference made me throw up in my mouth when I saw it a few months ago. Ugh ugh ughhhhh. I HATE getting mail as Mr. and Mrs. Husband Husband. I remember being *so confused* by things addressed that way to my parents when I was a tiny kid.

      • http://www.etsy.com/shop/DIYIDo Laura

        Even worse thant Mr & Mrs Husband Husband, when I mailed invitations for my BFFs bridal shower this summer, the list I received from her mother listed all the married women as Mrs. Husband Husband. The husband’s weren’t even invited, it was just to the ladies, but MOB was convinced that this was the most proper way to address them. She didn’t give me the ladies’ first names, so I had to address and mail them all that way. I couldn’t stop thinking about how awful it seemed to me the whole time.

      • G

        When I sent thank-you cards I did the return addresses to my husband’s family as “Mr. and Mrs. Husband Shared-Last-Name” and the ones to my family as “Mrs. and Mr. Wife Shared-Last-Name.” Pretty sure no one noticed.

      • Amanda

        Ugh yes I also hate getting mail addressed this way. Our invitations specifically said Mr. and Mrs. Dad and Mom Last Name request the honor of your presence…and I made sure to address everything thing and Mr. and Mrs. Husband and Wife Shared Last Name.

      • Emily

        I hate that too–it makes me feel completely left out! I know we talk name changing a lot here, but I was shocked that anyone thought I would even consider changing my name.

    • notquitecece

      Oh this is super timely! I just went through this column of our guest spreadsheet yesterday. I’m doing this (Mr. and Mrs. Man Man) for future in-laws and their extended family ONLY, and just using way less formal phrasing for everyone else.

      • Caroline

        We just skipped titles for everyone and made them less formal. Honestly, I had about 10 guests where it was extremely ambiguous whether the wife was “her-first his-birth-last” or “her-first her-birth-last”. Throwing in what the titles they liked and what they want to be addressed as formally was too hard

    • Sarah McClelland

      The only part of formal addressing I enjoy is kids. When else do you get to make a little boy feel like Batman by using Master instead of Mr. ??

      We are planning on mr. and mrs. Her and him last-name… Unless one has a title like rev. Or dr. Or a rank!

    • Not Sarah

      A friend of mine is convinced that Mr and Mrs HisFirstName HisLastName is the correct etiquette way if they share his last name. That makes me more convinced that I don’t want to change my name because then we’ll be Mr HisFirstName HisLastName and Ms HerFirstName HerLastName.

    • Hannah B

      We just wrote whatever fit on our DIY printed label. Our addressing style was wildly inconsistent, which I guess was ok because we were already tackily using printed labels. No one said anything and they all ate and drank and danced and had a great time.

  • laurasmash

    Hey APW, anyone have a brunch/morning wedding? What is a good time to start and/or what time of day is too late to serve brunch? Is ceremony at 11am with reception afterwards getting into lunch territory? I really want to serve waffles and omelets and mimosas and other yummy brunch things without people thinking I’m weird. Also don’t want to have it so early in the day that it’s inconvenient for people.

    In other news, I HAVE A DRESS!!! The second dress I tried on at Davids turned out to be pretty great, and after a few weeks of sitting on the decision, it was discounted down to $649 so my mom went and picked it up for me. So excited :D
    It’s this one, and I think it looks much better on me than on the model (why do wedding dress models make the dresses look so boring?) http://www.davidsbridal.com/Product_Double-Weaved-Floral-Matelasse-Ball-Gown-VW351205?cm_vc=Search

    • Caitlin_DD

      We’re doing brunch, with the ceremony starting around 9. I say serve breakfast whatever time of day you want. Most people love breakfast so much that they’ll think it’s a wonderful guilty pleasure to have breakfast- lunch, not weird.

      That dress is gorgeous!!

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Agree! Brunch is the ever-loving best and I would *not* balk at a 12:30 brunch! I wouldn’t even balk at a midnight brunch, actually. Midnight brunch wedding – now there’s an idea!

    • Alex

      Agreed with Caitlin about most people loving brunch so time doesn’t matter so much ;) I’m doing a brunch reception also, but not starting until noon. I consider brunch to be a late breakfast, so for me, that falls around 12-1 :) Ceremony and reception are both in my parents’ backyard, and the ceremony is going to be short, so brunch will be served starting around 12:30-1. And most restaurants my friends/family frequent for brunch serve until 2 or 3, so I’m not worried about time. I am going to have coffee / juice / scones set up if people arrive early before the ceremony. The invitation also says noon, and people are adults so if they don’t think they can wait until that late to eat, then they’ll eat something before they come :)

      I actually made my start time since I like how “Noon” looks moreso than “11 am” on the invitations I designed, and I wanted more time in the morning to not feel rushed, AND I want to get all formal pictures done beforehand, so I didn’t want to ask some friends/family who are not early risers to get up too early for said pictures.

    • Violet

      Where I’m from, you can make a brunch reservation for 2:00. Just sayin’…
      People LOVE brunch. I’m with vegankitchendiaries- brunch ANYTIME is a win!

    • SarahG

      Totally, brunch anytime is awesome. We also have a starting time of 11am, but sadly are doing a regular lunch… wah-wah. I wanted to do brunch, and the restaurant has a brunch menu, but everything on it is a total nightmare for a lot of our friends with allergies (gluten in particular — it was all waffles and bready stuff). I was bummed. Have the brunch wedding that I could not! Love the dress btw.

    • Alison M

      Brunch any time/ ALL THE TIME is okay. As long as there are mimosas and bacon, I would eat brunch at any hour.

    • swarmofbees

      I am a fan of breakfast for dinner, so, I would love a Brunch reception at any time of the day or night. Also, that dress is amazing! You could also alter it to be an amazing knee length dress after the wedding!

    • Kelly

      Late to happy hour today, but we just had a brunch wedding with an 11am ceremony, and it totally ruled. We had a brunch buffet that started at 1, and I was worried about that being too late, but everybody loved it! For cocktail hour (11:45-1) we had some sweet and savory nibbles to tide people over (mini cinnamon roles, donut holes, bagel bites with cream cheese, asssorted cheese and crackers, grapes). For what it’s worth, we also had the bar (including coffee) open before the ceremony, so people could have a beverage of choice in-hand when they arrived. We also had to-go boxes for cake, so that if people were over-sugared when cake time came around, they could take some with them. If you’re having cake, I highly recommend this.

      Also, that dress is AH-MAZING.

    • Caroline

      We had an 11:30 ceremony lunch wedding. With “cocktail hour” aka, we take 15 minutes of alone time and 30 min of family pictures while friends and family eat appetizers, we ended up starting lunch around 1 or 1:15. So I don’t think an 11 wedding would be brunchy unless you take photos before or otherwise eat around noon. I’m a big fan of the noon brunch.

    • Aubry

      I’m a little late, but wanted to pipe in! We had a 10am ceremony and served food at 12:00(pulled pork for us, but I would have done brunch if we had a caterer). We did a first look and bridal party shoot before the ceremony, and family portraits after. I don’t think you could run that timeline if you were doing all the photos after the ceremony. Or at least not if you have a huge family like me, maybe a smaller wedding could swing it. Just to prep you, we got up at 4:00am for my 10:00am ceremony:)

      For more info, we had most guests out by 3:00pm (and moved to the after-party venue in my case) with the venue cleared by 4:00pm (all family and friends without professionals).

    • Ilora

      I went to a wedding last summer where the ceremony wast at 3 and reception started at about 5. It was a “brunch” reception with pancakes, hash browns (the best I have ever eaten…) and a build your own omelette station. Everyone loved it!

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny/Adventures Along the Way

        That sounds delicious. I would llove to do that someday!

  • SJ

    My husband is interviewing something rather close to his dream job….it requires a move (that I’m all for) and some fast thinking, financially. I’m a proud, nervous wreck. I don’t think it’s over yet because he hasn’t texted me but….I’m so proud/nervous/excited I could burst!

    • Rosie

      How exciting, I hope it’s good news!

    • SJ

      just got an email (since my phone is on the fritz). He sent two words “kicked ass” and that’s ALL I GET???
      The suspense is KILLING me.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny/Adventures Along the Way

        any more news?

  • aldeka

    Fiancé now thinks he wants to wear white-tie to our wedding. Like, not just a tuxedo, TAILS. And while I’m excited that he’s excited, and relieved that he might hopefully give our poor wedding party some guidance on what to wear, I’m worried that my wedding dress (which just came into the shop yesterday) won’t be fancy enough to match. (It’s lace and slinky, not a ballgown.) How do you dress up a wedding dress?

    Also my sister already has her bridesmaid’s dress bought, and it’s knee-length, which is fine for black-tie but not for white-tie. So she’ll look underdressed if the fiancé goes ahead with this plan. Or have to buy a new dress, which I know she can’t afford. :/

    It’s great that he’s getting more interested in wedding planning and decisions now…but why does it have to be at the cost of screwing up steps I’d taken care of months ago? Grr.

    • Alison M

      Have you explained all of this to him? If he’s just come up with this idea, it’s not like it’s something he’s been dreaming of for his wedding since a child.

    • moonlitfractal

      I think it would be fine for the groom to be the only one in really formal attire. He’s getting married. It’s fair for him to look special. I also don’t think your slinky, lacy dress will look as out of place as you think.

      • KC

        I totally agree with this; high-formal dresses for women don’t have to be poufy (see: awards ceremonies). Fancy dresses don’t have to be floor-length, either. You can also look at glamming up the bridesmaid dress with jewelry (from, say, rent the runway?)

        • Lawyerette510

          Yes to the jewelry dressing up a shorter dress. Rent the Runway has some great pieces, and again (i’m like a broken record this week) local jewelers rent pieces too, and perhaps aldeka could be the one to foot to cost of the rented jewelry if she knows sister’s budget is tight and feels it’s not fair to move expectations for appearance on her at this point?

      • Natalie

        this. I think it’s totally ok for the bride and groom (or just the bride, or just the groom) to be several steps fancier than anyone else, including the wedding party.

    • Violet

      If he’s still “thinking about it,” I’d voice my opinion. If he’s decided, I’d grit teeth and support. And rationalize that these days grooms are wearing sneakers while their ladies are in high heels. Brides are wearing sneakers with full-on ball gowns. Guests don’t care.

      • Grace from England

        Just want to emphasise “Guests don’t care” some more. If you both choose outfits you’re happy with, you will look great together on your wedding day.

      • aldeka

        Yours and the other responses here have been so helpful! I think I’ll gently encourage him to not require tails for the entire wedding party, so the womenfolk don’t feel out of place, but support him 100% on wearing white tie if that’s what he decides to do. Hella dapper. The bridesmaids and groomsladies are “mismatched” anyway (I gave them a bunch of shades of blue and a few other specifications and told them to have at it); we can probably get away with a mix of tuxes and tails! The (paper flower) boutonnieres (that I finally finished last week!) should be enough to make it obvious who’s in the wedding.

        • Violet

          That’s a great idea to use your boutonnieres as your unifying look for your wedding party! I think since you have everyone wearing something different as it is, his tails really won’t look out of place at all. If anything, they’ll distinguish him as the groom, but that’s not a bad thing! : )

    • Erin

      Totally serious suggestion that may sound silly. Do you watch Downton Abbey? Those ladies rock the slinky dresses next to men in white tie in just about every episode. It may get you pumped to see how awesome they look.

    • Ellen

      Two thoughts:

      1. In the end, if tails are a thing that will really make him feel great, it’ll all be fine, even if everyone else there wears a sweatsuit.

      2. One very productive conversation we had during the planning process was about the fact that “formal”, “semi-formal”, and similar terms have specific meanings and associated rules. Obviously you don’t have to follow all of the rules, but lots of people (men in particular, I suspect) don’t realize, among other things, that “formal day dress” (morning coats) exists and that tuxedos aren’t supposed to be worn before six, and that deviations from those established rules might strike people as odd or confusing. One thing I emphasized in our “what to wear?” conversations (and, frankly, that mattered to me personally) was that the members of our wedding party were going to be attending *literally the same event* as the guests, and so it didn’t make sense to me to have the wedding party in formal wear with the guests in business suits: If it was going to be a formal event, *everyone* should be wearing tuxedos; if it wasn’t, then the wedding party would be overdressed if they wore them.

      YMMV on all of this, and again: if white tie and tails will make him really happy and other things won’t, don’t worry about it. He should get to be excited about what he wears–to me, that was the most important thing by a pretty big margin.

  • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubilance

    Anyone have any tips on honeymoon planning? My fiance and I want to do something in the Caribbean, preferably all-inclusive or a cruise. We also want to go right after our March 14th wedding and spend 5-7 days. Everything that I’ve seen so far has been at least $3k which is more than I was hoping to spend…but maybe I need to resign myself to that price? I was also thinking that we could book something closer to the wedding date, a “last minute deal” type thing – is that a good strategy?

    • Lauren from NH

      Have you checked Groupon or Living Social? My partner and I went to Jamaica on a deal last October for 5 days 4 nights at an all inclusive resort for under $2200 for everything (we bought our flights separately and the taxi from the airport, but I have that all included in the number here).

      • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubilance

        I’ve been looking casually but it seems like their deals are only through the end of 2014. I’m hoping as we get closer to the spring they will have more deals for my timeframe.

    • Lawyerette510

      Try keeping an eye on TravelZoo or similar sights to get an idea of what types of deals can come up. That said, in general March is a popular time to travel to the Caribbean, it’s still cold in the North Eastern US, it’s generally good weather there, and it’s spring break, so expect it to be a little more on the pricey side. Usually TravelZoo and similar sights show things they have offered previously, so you can get a feel for what to expect as far as package deals. Also, think about if you can get airline miles/ reward points to work in your favor if you have them, or see if you have someone in your family who would sell you their reward points/ miles at a reduced rate.

    • swarmofbees

      I have had good success in the past with CheapCaribbean.com They spam you after the trip, but generally have good offers.

      • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubilance

        I’ve heard good things about them too, going to keep an eye out. Thanks!

    • Amanda

      I’d go with a cruise. I’ve only ever been on Carnival but have friends that have enjoyed Royal Caribbean. The one we went on last year we booked a room with a porthole (the no windows thing just doesn’t work for me). A few weeks before the cruise left Carnival called and asked if I’d be interested in upgrading to a balcony room for just $200 more for the 5 days. I said yes and then didn’t tell him. Surprise!

      • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubilance

        Originally my fiance wanted to do Allure of the Seas on Royal Caribbean but they want like $3500 for the 2 of us for a week cruise, not including airfare, tips, excursions, etc. I went on that ship last April, and we didn’t pay that much for the same room, so I wonder if its a combo of booking so far out & also wanting to go in March thats making it so expensive. I do love the cruise option but maybe we can make it work on a different ship with a shorter itinerary.

    • Amanda
    • Crayfish Kate

      I’d be careful w/the last minute deal strategy. I worked in the travel industry in FL & March-April is prime spring break season. I don’t know if Caribbean resorts follow the same general thinking, but the beach resort I worked at, we never, ever did any sort of discount whatsoever for that time period. We were nearly guaranteed to sell out during that time, & the hotel knew it could ask for top dollar. I have no idea on how cruises work during that time, that’s just my 2c. :-)

      • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubilance

        I was thinking “last minute” in terms of deals on Travelzoo/Groupon/LivingSocial/etc. It seems like all the deals on those sites are only good for bookings through the end of the year, so I was hoping as we got closer to our wedding date, we’d find something more reasonable than what we’re seeing now.

        • Crayfish Kate

          Ah, yeah, I’m not sure how the 3rd party sites work as far as discounts go, but it’s definitely worth a try! I think cruises might have more last-minute deals, since one the ship sails, obviously they can’t book any walk-ins. I went on 1 cruise, and the following year they sent me a letter saying one of the trips hadn’t booked up the way they hoped, so they were offering me a cabin for $200 for the entire 4-day trip. Also worth checking out, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

  • swarmofbees

    I watched this mini-documentary this week and it really made me think about not only my own mortality, but also the depth of the promises we made when we got married. http://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000003074275/a-marriage-to-remember.html I have watched my mother care for my father while he suffers from an, at times, incredibly painful incurable disease. But, there is the hope, that came true for us, that he could feel at least partially better one day. This husband is caring for a wife with no hope of recovery. In the face of such deep love I sometimes feel I could not do this without resentment, despair, and frustration and, even worse, letting these feelings show. I know we change in the face of adversity. Or, rather, maybe not change, but develop sides of ourselves that have not been needed before. I hope that I will find this strength should I ever need it.
    Anyway, I wanted to share this as a beautiful and incredibly sad portrait of a marriage.

    • Lawyerette510

      I both want to watch this and I don’t. My husband of just under 4 months is having surgery next week for a deep melanoma that is deep enough it may have spread to his lymph nodes or else where, and while I don’t regret the decision to marry him at all, having this come up so quickly certainly puts the commitments we made in a different light.

      • swarmofbees

        I was fairly steadily crying after watching it. So, I wouldn’t watch it on your train ride home or anything. I don’t think it would have been helpful for me to watch when my father was in the thick of his treatments. Those sorts of stories only multiplied my misery at the time. It is about a couple dealing with Alzheimers, so it is not exactly your situation. Either way, I hope all goes well with the surgery next week. And big hugs to you!!!! Make sure to take care of yourself as much as you can.

      • Sarah McClelland

        I couldn’t remember if it was this week or next- sending positive thoughts and prayers y’all’s way!

      • Amanda

        Lawyerette, I’m a few days late but I just happened to read your comment and wanted to send positive thoughts and well wishes to you and your husband. As a repeated survivor of Melanoma, I feel for your situation. Please keep us all posted. Internet hugs to you.

        • Lawyerette510

          Thank you very much Amanda. The surgery was today and it went well. He’s bummed because there was the excision site on his face and two additional incisions for the sentinel lymph node biopsy (the spot drained two three distinct locations on the left side of his face/ neck), but the surgeon felt positively about the results. Now husband is recovering on the couch with the cat on one side, the dog on the other and ice cream.

    • Alison O

      This was my future father-in-law, with my partner’s mom, for many years, but much more acutely so May 2013-April 2014, when she fell especially sick and then died. Very hard and sad and unfortunately just now generating fallout related to his moving on process vs. mine and my partner’s… tough stuff. But my partner is so much like his mom; I am basically anticipating caring for him like this. I also had two grandparents with Alzheimer’s (one classic, one maybe some other kind of dementia), so I’m not out of the woods myself. But yeah, this is a lot of what marriage is about to me.

  • HannahESmith

    I am currently looking for a financial advisor. Someone who would work for a flat rate and give us some personalized advice about achieving our financial goals. I’m based in Portland, Oregon, but I’m happy to work with someone based somewhere else. With all the women rocking their own businesses out there, I’m surprised I haven’t been able to find anyone who specializes is this. Any recommendations?

    • Unhip in Brooklyn

      You may want to check out Brittney Castro of Financially Wise Women: http://www.financiallywisewomen.com

      • HannahESmith

        Thank you! This is exactly the type of person I’ve been looking for. Have you worked with her before? Do you know what her fee structure is?

        • Unhip in Brooklyn

          I haven’t worked with her– a friend recommended her to the public a while back and I dive in and look at her blogs every so often. She seems very friendly and knowledgeable though, so I’m sure you could talk pricing directly with her!

          • HannahESmith

            Cool. I sent her a message. I’m surprised how non existent most branding is for people in this field. She looks great!

    • http://iamdinarik.blogspot.com/ dinarik

      Wanted to chime in too – I’m a big finance nerd and had a financial advisor when I was 22-24 and working (after which I went to grad school). I would check out NAPFA (Fee only advisors – http://napfa.org/) Basically, there are all sorts of different accredidations that advisors have, some of which don’t mean much, and don’t leave said advisors with a fiduciary responsibility (basically, being legally obligated to give advice in your best interest, rather than theirs). Go with someone who changes you for their time, a flat fee for the couple of hours you want to meet with them for, this is generally the most ethical arrangement, and also pretty affordable. Also don’t hesitate to ask to meet them in person and ask questions about whether they’d be a good fit for you – you have every right to do this before you commit to paying them lots of money. Good luck! (And rock on with being in control of your finances and being on top of everything – that makes me so happy :))

      • HannahESmith

        That sounds great. Do you have an estimate on how much a few hours would cost?

        • http://iamdinarik.blogspot.com/ dinarik

          To be honest, that’s going to depend a lot on who you talk with. Most likely any potential advisors will have this information online, or at least will be willing to discuss the costs before you commit. I think I ended up paying about 1K for a full review and plan from my advisor, but this included many hours of work on his part, and our meeting for several hours as well. But I think you should be able to get something for much less. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  • Guest

    I’m three weeks out from my wedding, and I’m still…processing. Overall it was an amazing experience, full of love and joy, but it was also challenging. We had multiple family members unable to attend because of last-minute illnesses, and my parents had to put our dog down that week (though they didn’t tell me until after the wedding). Four days before the wedding, our coordinator, who is also a really good friend, wound up in the hospital with a very serious illness. We were worried sick about her, and simultaneously had to find folks to take over the things she was handling, basically everything: the flowers, assembling the cake (I had baked the layers and made the frosting), seating charts, queuing up the playlists, emceeing…She wound up being well enough that her father was able to sign her out of the hospital and bring her to the wedding, which was absolutely amazing – there were a lot of tears when she showed up in the room where I was getting ready. And our family and friends stepped up in a major way, handling pretty much everything. We had 140 amazing people come out and spent multiple days with us in glorious California sunshine, and I laughed and smiled so much my face hurt. Grievous illnesses aside, everything went smoothly, and it was pretty magical.

    It was just A LOT. I’m trying to convince myself (and my “it was the best day of my life” husband) that complicated feelings are a-ok and perfection wasn’t the goal. My Type A brain isn’t quite having it yet, though. But I did successfully surprise my husband with a VW bus photobooth at the reception, which was amazing!

    • Alison M

      Congratulations on the wedding. I can definitely see why it would take a lot of time to process – that sounds like a crappy combination of events. But it sounds like from your comment that everything ended up being great, so I hope that time will allow you to remember that more than the unfortunate events beforehand!

  • Alison M

    My

    • Alison M

      Other relevant things: I don’t have an engagement ring, both because I think it’s silly to spend that much money on something like that, and because I find it kind of a sexist concept. Also, our families are helping a lot with wedding costs, with me financing most of the rest because I am able to do that, and his total contributions to the wedding costs will almost certainly be much less than $2k.

      • jashshea

        I have to ask: Are you planning on combining finances before/after the wedding?

        2k is a lot of money and I certainly don’t mean to belittle that. But I’m hearing that he thinks the ring is important/valuable enough to cost $2,000 and you think expensive rings are silly. Both opinions are valid, but that’s a pretty big difference of opinion.

        If you’re keeping finances segregated now and after the wedding, tell him to spend his money on whatever ring his heart desires. If you’re combined now or plan to be, this is a REALLY good time to have some tough conversations about how you’ll handle financial decisions going forward when all the money is “our” money.

    • emilyg25

      When we made our wedding budget, we made a conscious decision to put most of our money toward the things that would last after the wedding: photography, a custom suit for the groom, and our wedding bands. Our rings cost about the same (no engagement ring for me either) and we bought them for each other. So I dunno, I don’t think he’s crazy. But if you can’t afford that or don’t want to spend that, then talk about it. Ask him why this particular ring is important to him. Perhaps he can find something similar for less.

    • Lawyerette510

      Depending on the overall budget of your wedding and your financial abilities, it really depends on if @ grand is a lot for a ring, but if you put it in terms of something that is worn every day for the duration of your marriage, the cost break down is pretty low. With that kind of fine jewelry you’d want to insure it, and if you have concerns about his responsibility level in having something that nice, it sounds like the right time to discuss that issue.

      • emmers

        And insurance doesn’t cost a ton. I think it cost maybe $60– maybe less? maybe it was $30? to insure my ring, which I believe cost more than that.

        • Lawyerette510

          It’s not much, we have a $15,000 fine jewelry rider on our renter’s insurance that covers my engagement ring, our wedding rings and some other pieces I received from family over the years. I think annually it costs us around $80. It’s well worth it for the peace of mind, especially considering where live, a break-in is not outside the realm of possibility.

    • EAO

      My husband had a strange relationship with wedding bands….most of the popular ones “weren’t expensive enough” for him. Eventually, I queried him on this, and his feelings were part “well, damn, I want a diamond too!” but also “marriage is a big deal, and spending a large sum of money shows that”. [He’s also rather frugal — on everything but his $30 underwear — so all this was new to me.]

      He’s very happy with his platinum band, proud of the relationship he built with the designer when the sketched it out together, and that ultimately makes me happy. At the time I was super annoyed about other budget issues where he was being cheap, but ultimately it was the right choice for us.

      • ART

        HA my husband loved his $30 underwear. But that’s a splurge I’m willing to make – they’re effing soft.

    • http://iamdinarik.blogspot.com/ dinarik

      Ah, I so feel you on the craziness of wedding expenses. At one point, I turned to my now-husband and was like ‘the DJ is only 1K? Thats so affordable!’ And then I woke the fuck up and was like … woah, a thousand dollars is a significant and large amount, I can’t let myself lose perspective of that, ever!

      You said below that your families + you are paying for the wedding, with his contribution being less than the 2K said desired wedding band costs. So I wonder what’s underlying your hesitation about the 2k ring. I get that you’re starting from a place of ‘expensive rings are a little silly and not neccesary’, and maybe not understanding why he values this expensive ring when you don’t. Do you think he’s considered his options? Do you think he’d actually be happy with something less expensive? Can he articulate his reasons for why he loves the ring, do you think he’ll ultimately be a significant amount more happy with this ring than something simpler? Do you worry about him making this decision too quickly or irresponsibly? Is his lower contribution a reflection of different spending habits than you have (or just a circumstantial lower salary)? Talking about money is so important, because it’s actually a really emotional topic. All this is good stuff to discuss.

      And people below mentioned that you can get insurance for peace of mind quite inexpensively (esp if you already have housing or renters insurance). Maybe I’m just a grumpy cat, but I’m of the opinion that I don’t want to willingly procure decorative useless items that I can’t afford to replace. Just saying – but I’m also of the minimalist mindset and not too sentimental about objects (I threw my fabulous beautiful $40 off Amazon wedding dress out in the trash the morning after our wedding quite happily).

    • macrain

      My fiance fell in love with an expensive ring, too. In the end we thought it would be worth it since he will wear it forever. There were also so few things throughout this process that he felt so strongly about, that I was easily swayed because this thing seemed to mean a lot to him.
      And yes, wedding spending skews perceptions of what “a lot” is, for sure! Talk it over with him and try to get a read on why this is important.

  • Gen

    I’m three weeks out from my wedding, and I’m still…processing. Overall it was an amazing experience, full of love and joy, but it was also challenging. We had multiple family members unable to attend because of last-minute illnesses, and my parents had to put our dog down that week (though they didn’t tell me until after the wedding). Four days before the wedding, our coordinator, who is also a really good friend, wound up in the hospital with a very serious illness. We were worried sick about her, and simultaneously had to find folks to take over the things she was handling, basically everything: the flowers, assembling the cake (I had baked the layers and made the frosting), seating charts, queuing up the playlists, emceeing…She wound up being well enough that her father was able to sign her out of the hospital and bring her to the wedding, which was absolutely amazing – there were a lot of tears when she showed up in the room where I was getting ready. And our family and friends stepped up in a major way, handling pretty much everything. We had 140 amazing people come out and spent multiple days with us in glorious California sunshine, and I laughed and smiled so much my face hurt. Grievous illnesses aside, everything went smoothly, and it was pretty magical.

    It was just A LOT. I’m trying to convince myself (and my “it was the best day of my life” husband) that complicated feelings are a-ok and perfection wasn’t the goal. My Type A brain isn’t quite having it yet, though. But I did successfully surprise my husband with a VW bus photobooth at the reception, which was amazing!

    • Lawyerette510

      Congratulations on the wedding! This pic is everything, and the fact that there is a vw bus photo booth is amazing! Just to provide some validation, complicated feelings are more than ok, they are healthy because life is complicated, especially when the bitter comes up at the same time as the sweet. Congratulations again and wishing you so much happiness!

      • Caroline

        Agree with Lawyerette! And I just want to say that that is a HOT picture. I love the VW photobus. Congratulations!

      • Unhip in Brooklyn

        Agree with Lawyerette! And I just want to add that that pic is HOT. I love the VW photobus. Congratulations!

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Stunnnnning!! Congrats, congrats, congrats!

      PS. I’m just over a month past W-Day and hear you on the complicated feelings. My wedding day wasn’t the literal “happiest day of my life”… but it was awesome! And it sounds like yours was too! It must have been with that camper van photo booth… :)

  • Kayjayoh

    I’m at the end of our first week in Boston. (Would have posted yesterday, but APW doesn’t do well on the iPhone and I’m pretty sure now is not the time to browse personal stuff from work.) New job is going well. We get our new apartment on Monday. I *did* manage to get a cold on the road trip here, so that’s been fun. (“No seriously, nice to meet you but you don’t want to shake my hand right now.”)

    This is definitely the summer/year of transitions: new marriage, new city, new job. And next year (hopefully) home ownership. Woo!

    • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

      congrats on all the change! my spouse’s best friend lives in Boston and I’m dying to visit there. I’m sure its lovely, enjoy :)

    • ASH

      Hi from your fellow MCM wedding lady! We also just went through the new marriage, new city, new jobs thing. WHEW! Good luck to you!

  • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

    Late, but here. I just finished my fourth week at my new (part time) job and it’s been so wonderful. I also just started community college classes back up this week, all while still trying to balance pursuing my career. And taking care of my dog, and my marriage..This fall is going to be really busy but I am SO excited for next week because my spouse and I are going to NC for a week (where I’m from) to hang out at the beach, in the country, and in my hometown. I can’t wait to just relax and hear the ocean at night and when I wake up. I also haven’t been home in almost a year and am so excited to go back. This is the first real “relax” trip that we’ve had in awhile, since the wedding was still a wedding (lots going on!) and the honeymoon was still an adjustment and lots going on. I’m so ready for us to just have relaxed time for ourselves where our job is to sit on the beach and swim in the ocean and drink and eat.